Colson Whitehead - The Underground Railroad - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780708898383
    • Publication date:06 Oct 2016
  • Paperback £7.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9780708898406
    • Publication date:29 Jun 2017

The Underground Railroad

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017

By Colson Whitehead

  • Hardback
  • £14.99

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent, wrenching, thrilling tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016

AMAZON.COM #1 BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD

'Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime' Guardian

'Luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer

'Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year' Stylist

'Dazzling' New York Review of Books


Praised by Barack Obama and an Oprah Book Club Pick, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award 2016.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780708898390
  • Publication date: 06 Oct 2016
  • Page count: 320
  • Imprint: Fleet
It has invaded both my sleeping and waking thoughts . . . Each character feels alive with a singular humanity . . . Whitehead is on a roll, the reviews have been sublime — Bim Adewunmi, Guardian
An engrossing and harrowing novel — Sunday Times
[A] brutal, vital, devastating novel...This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself — Alex Preston, Observer
This thrilling tale of escape from a deep south plantation takes in terror, beauty and the history of human tragedy..This uncanny novel never attempts to deliver a message - instead it tells one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. Cora's strong, graceful hands touch on the greatest tragedies of our history — Cynthia Bond, Guardian
It's so good it's hard to praise it without whipping out the cliches: it's an elegant, devastating powerhouse of a book, following a young black woman all over America as she tries to escape the horrors of slavery. When it was published with Oprah's imprimatur, in August, it was universally acclaimed. It deserved it — Michelle Dean, Guardian
One of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year . . . Whitehead never exploits his subject matter, and in fact it's the sparseness of the novel that makes it such a punch in the gut — Sarah Shaffi, Stylist
My book of the year by some distance...It's a profound and important novel, but more than anything it's an absurdly good read, gripping you in its tightly wound plot, astonishing you with its leaps of imagination. If Whitehead doesn't win every prize going next year, I'll appear on Saturday Review in my underpants — Alex Preston, Observer, Best Fiction of 2016
Whitehead is a superb storyteller . . . [he] brilliantly intertwines his allegory with history . . . writing at the peak of his game . . . Whitehead's achievement is truly remarkable: by giving the Underground Railroad a new mythology, he has found a way of confronting other myths, older and persistent, about the United States. His book cannot have enough readers — Telegraph
It is an extraordinary novel, a rich, confident work that will deservedly win - on the basis of literary merit as well as moral purpose . . . History and human experience as well as an artist's obligation to tell the truth have shaped a virtuoso novel that should be read by every American as well as readers across the world. And it will be, it should be — Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
An utterly transporting piece of storytelling — Alex Heminsley, The Pool
Bestselling author Colson Whitehead's novel is a searing indictment of slavery with a detailed inventory of man's inhumanity to man - and Cora's flight is a harrowing and shocking trip for the reader — Daily Mail
A stunning, brutal and hugely imaginative book. It's a favourite of both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. It is painful history re-imagined in a powerful and brilliant way — Emerald St
Recommended by none other than Obama AND Oprah, The Underground Railroad arrives deserving every last drop of hype that's come its way . . . There are many twists and turns in Cora's long, treacherous journey towards freedom and while The Underground Railroad is at times brutal and disturbing, it's also hopeful and an addictive, compulsive read. After reading it, a corner of your heart will always belong to Cora. An instant classic — Sarra Manning, Red
Reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in and stays forever . . . a tour de force — Oprah Winfrey
This bravura novel reimagines that same network as a real subterranean railway, upon which a girl named Cora flees the slave-catcher Ridgeway. Throughout, horrific experiences are rendered in lapidary prose, but it's Cora's daring that provides the story's redemptive oomph — Mail on Sunday
Inventive and hard-hitting — Metro
It is a bold way of reimagining the slave experience and, in the capable hands of Whitehead, succeeds triumphantly — Mail on Sunday
Brutal, tender, thrilling and audacious — Naomi Alderman, Guardian
An enchanting tale . . . full of vivid images, learned allusions and astute observations . . . The most important and acclaimed American novel of the past year — London Review of Books
I stayed up way too late to finish this... It will be haunting me in the best way — Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
A fantastical picaresque through the dark side of American history — Daily Telegraph
Thrilling and unsentimental — Scotsman
The Underground Railroad is a noble descendant of the great narratives of slavery, and among the very finest of its novels — Wesley Stace, Times Literary Supplement
An audaciously imagined and profoundly moving novel — Eithne Farry, Express
Stunning and unsentimental . . . required reading — Jenny Niven, Herald
A charged and important novel that pushed at the boundaries of fiction — Justine Jordan, Guardian, Best Books of 2016
Leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery . . . with echoes of Toni Morrison's Beloved, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and with brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift . . . Colson Whitehead has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
A book that resonates with deep emotional timbre. The Underground Railroad reanimates the slave narrative, disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era . . . The story charges along with incredible power . . . The canon of essential novels about America's peculiar institution just grew by one — Ron Charles, Washington Post
The Underground Railroad isn't the modern slave narrative it first appears to be. It is something grander and more piercing, a dazzling antebellum anti-myth...Whitehead's prose is quick as a runaway's footsteps — New York Review of Books
[The Underground Railroad] is really good - good, in fact, in just about every way a novel can be good . . . a grave and fully realized masterpiece, a weird blend of history and fantasy that will have critics rightfully making comparisons to Toni Morrison and Gabriel García-Márquez — Boston Globe
This book should be required reading in classrooms across the country alongside Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. If this isn't Colson Whitehead's masterpiece, it's definitely the best book of the year and maybe the most important work of the decade — Chicago Tribune
Masterful, urgent . . . one of the finest novels written about our country's still unabsolved original sin — Charles Finch, USA Today
The Underground Railroad has serious ambition, especially within the tradition of literary satire . . . With deadpan virtuosity and muted audacity, Whitehead integrates the historical details of slavery with the present — Los Angeles Review of Books
Whitehead is a fantastic novelist, one of the best in America today. (Certainly better than Franzen.)... Oprah is right: The Underground Railroad is Whitehead's best book yet... This is the rare critically acclaimed bestseller that deserves every ounce of its adoration, and more. The hype is real. You can believe Oprah, and its scores of other fans, including some guy who took The Underground Railroad on summer vacation and can't stop talking about its "terrific... powerful" portraiture of race in America. That fan's name is Barack Obama — Seattle Times
Magnetizing and wrenching . . . Each stop Cora makes along the Underground Railroad reveals another shocking and malignant symptom of a country riven by catastrophic conflicts, a poisonous moral crisis, and diabolical violence. Each galvanizing scene blazes with terror and indictment as Whitehead tracks the consequences of the old American imperative to seize, enslave, and profit . . . Hard-driving, lasersharp, artistically superlative, and deeply compassionate, Whitehead's unforgettable odyssey adds a clarion new facet to the literature of racial tyranny and liberation — Booklist
Startlingly original . . . Whitehead continues the African-American artists' inquiry into race mythology and history with rousing authority and razor-sharp ingenuity; he is now assuredly a writer of the first rank — Kirkus
In powerful, precise prose, at once spellbinding and ferocious, the book follows Cora's incredible journey north, step by step . . . the story is literature at its finest and history at its most barbaric. Would that this novel were required reading for every American citizen — Publishers Weekly
Colson Whitehead's staggering, haunted new novel . . . [is] a book that is fully expected to win all the awards this year - Pulitzer Prize, Booker Prize, National Book Award, etc - and it deserves every last one — Chapter 16
Hard-driving, laser-sharp, artistically superlative, and deeply compassionate, Whitehead's unforgettable odyssey adds a clarion new facet to the literature of racial tyranny and liberation — Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, shortlist announcement
Fleet

The Intuitionist

Colson Whitehead
Authors:
Colson Whitehead
Grand Central Publishing

Passing Through Paradise

Susan Wiggs
Authors:
Susan Wiggs

Less than two years ago Sandra was the happily married wife of Victor Winslow, a politician who could do no wrong and the favorite son of a town called Paradise. Then an accident took Victor's life, leaving Sandra under a dark cloud of suspicion.Now Sandra has had enough. Her only way out is to rebuild and sell her Victorian beach house at the edge of town. When she hires Mike Malloy, she soon realizes he's skilled with his hands . . . and at touching her lonely heart. His fight to secure a future with his children awakens all her buried dreams. But can she trust a man with unbreakable ties to a community she's eager to leave behind, a man determined to discover her deepest secrets? Torn between her need to confront the past and her longing to begin again, Sandra must soon decide where her heart is-in a new life far away, or right here, in Paradise.

Corsair

The Angel of History

Rabih Alameddine
Authors:
Rabih Alameddine

'A profoundly beautiful novel that infolds the political with the personal in unexpected and new ways . . . An extraordinary book' Neel Mukherjee, New Statesman, 'Books of the Year 2016''His stories take the reader into the labyrinth that is the mind . . . The Angel of History is digressive and daring' the Economist'Alameddine has created a scintillating, original work whose moral complexity and detail of observation are wholly contemporary and entirely his own' SpectatorSet over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana'a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.'Here is a book, full of story, unrepentantly political at every level. At a time when many western writers seem to be in retreat from saying anything that could be construed as political, Alameddine says it all, shamelessly, gloriously and, realised like his Satan, in the most stylish of forms' the Guardian

Piatkus

Sweetest Scoundrel

Elizabeth Hoyt
Authors:
Elizabeth Hoyt
Piatkus

Dearest Rogue

Elizabeth Hoyt
Authors:
Elizabeth Hoyt
Abacus

Arkansas

David Leavitt
Authors:
David Leavitt
Abacus

The Page Turner

David Leavitt
Authors:
David Leavitt
Abacus

While England Sleeps

David Leavitt
Authors:
David Leavitt

Set against the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe, WHILE ENGLAND SLEEPS tells the story of the love affair between Brian Botsford, an upper-class young writer, and Edward Phelan, an idealistic, self-educated employee of the London Underground and a member of the Communist party. Though by far the better educated of the two Brian is also more callow, convinced that his homosexuality is something he will outgrow. Edward, on the other hand, possesses 'an unproblematic capacity to accept' both Brian and the unorthodox nature of their love for each other - until one day, at the urging of his wealthy aunt Constance, Brian agrees to be set up with a 'suitable' young woman...and soon enough Edward is pushed to the point of crisis. Fleeing, he volunteers to fight in Spain, where he ends up in prison. Brian, responsible for Edward's flight, must pursue him across Europe, into the violent chaos of war.

Piatkus

Darling Beast

Elizabeth Hoyt
Authors:
Elizabeth Hoyt

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . . A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARESThough scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

Virago

Fire from Heaven

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Grand Central Publishing

Take Me Home

Dorothy Garlock
Authors:
Dorothy Garlock

Life in the small town of Miller's Creek, Wisconsin in 1945 is focused entirely on the war in Germany. Olivia Marsten is doing everything she can to support the troops: working in the local hardware store while the owner's son is serving, collecting recyclables for the war effort, and offering support to Billy, her childhood best friend who's leaving in a month for Navy training. When Billy pulls her aside, desperate to talk, she doesn't think anything of it...until he confesses he's been in love with her for years and proposes marriage. Stunned and unable to hurt his feelings, she accepts. But in her heart she knows it isn't right. How do you break your best friend's heart, especially when you think you might secretly be in love with the stranger who literally saved your life? From the moment Peter Becker lays eyes on Olivia, she took his breath away. They had only just been introduced when a car careened out of nowhere, and he pulled her out of the way, saving her life. When he comes to, he's recovering in Olivia's parents' home and slowly falling in love with Olivia. But Peter Becker isn't who he says he is. He's a German soldier whose infantry was taken prisoner by American soldiers and brought to the United States, their final destination an internment camp. But while headed there, a massive train accident occurred and both he and Otto, the prisoner chained to him, survived. As the son of an American WWI veteran, Peter has grown up loving baseball and apple pie--he never wanted to serve in the Nazi party and hates what they stand for. He knows he must turn himself in, but he can't bring himself to do it, especially knowing that it he might lose Olivia forever. But when mysterious accidents start to befall the town and Olivia's family in particular, it's clear to Peter that Otto is responsible. Can he save the woman he's come to love from a madmen hellbent on revenge?

Little, Brown

The Spring of Kasper Meier

Ben Fergusson
Authors:
Ben Fergusson
Piatkus

The Ex-Factor

Andrea Semple
Authors:
Andrea Semple

When Martha Seymore finds out about her boyfriend's one-night-stand she doesn't know what to do. And Martha's business is relationships. She's the girl who gets paid to sympathise with the cheated and jilted, the under-sexed and over-attached at Gloss magazine. Realising she's just as clueless as her hapless readers, Martha finds it increasingly difficult to continue giving relationship advice whilst dealing with her own heartache. Also, there's the distinctly unattractive prospect of admitting a failed relationship not only to her colleagues, but also to her oldest friend, Desdemona, whose irritatingly perfect lifestyle would make even a saint harbour murderous tendencies. Worse, Desdemona's new fiance is Alex, Martha's first ex-boyfriend, who, contrary to all expectations, has matured into an infuriatingly sexy and talented chef. Life just isn't fair. Tired of always doing the right thing, Martha starts to wonder is she has the right approach to relationships after all: is the best way to get one man off your mind, at least temporarily, to get another one into your bed?

Abacus

Last Friends

Jane Gardam
Authors:
Jane Gardam

Shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize.Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat told with bristling tenderness and black humour the stories of that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Old Filth QC, and his clever, misunderstood wife Betty. Last Friends, the final volume of this trilogy, picks up with Terence Veneering, Filth's great rival in work and - though it was never spoken of - in love. Veneering's were not the usual beginnings of an establishment silk: the son of a Russian acrobat marooned in northeast England and a devoted local girl, he escapes the war to emerge in the Far East as a man of panache, success and fame. But, always, at the stuffy English Bar he is treated with suspicion: where did this blond, louche, brilliant Slav come from? Veneering, Filth and their friends tell a tale of love, friendship, grace, the bittersweet experiences of a now-forgotten Empire and the disappointments and consolations of age.

Abacus

East Into Upper East

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Authors:
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Piatkus

An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding

Christina Jones
Authors:
Christina Jones

Life simply couldn't be better for Erin Boswell. At twenty-seven, she is engaged to the simply divine Jay Keskar - and every minute of her day currently revolves around planning the wedding of her dreams. Until, that is, Jay's parents announce that they want to 'discuss' things - and this is when Erin's wedding heaven turns into her wedding hell . . .Tavish and Deena are Indian and have very firm beliefs about the form of wedding their only son should have. Of course, they say, Erin will be wearing a sari. And of course all the Indian pre-wedding ritual ceremonies - including tilak, mehendi, sangeet - will be observed.As Bollywood comes to Berkshire, can East eventually meet West in perfect harmony? And if not, will Erin and Jay's dream wedding even take place?

Corsair

My Hollywood

Mona Simpson
Authors:
Mona Simpson
5 Spot

Henny on the Couch

Rebecca Land Soodak
Authors:
Rebecca Land Soodak
Virago

Sin

Josephine Hart
Authors:
Josephine Hart

Though she wounded me beyond pain, I too inflicted deep hurt. Not born to murder her, still I sought to break her . . . Her name was Elizabeth Ashbridge. And I even envied her that.'Sin is about a woman possessed by an obsessive envy, a woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Sin, from the author of the bestselling Damage, now takes its proper place as a Virago Modern Classic. 'Stripped down to a single, inexorable storyline that centres on the destructive power of passion. As in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, innocence and virtue are cruelly and deliberately betrayed, as the reader looks on with mingled shock and fascination . . . a tour de force' New York Times

Virago

The Sleeping Beauty

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor