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Review: ‘The Underground Railroad’ is the Best Book of the Year — Maybe the Decade

in Fiction by

Decades before the Civil War, a slave woman named Cora risks her life and runs off a cotton plantation in Georgia. Colson Whitehead’s hero in The Underground Railroad is afraid to take a gamble on so much until she realizes she wouldn’t be risking that much to begin with. Being a slave is not a life anyone would want to live; her livelihood is no livelihood at all. In bondage, Cora merely exists. She must take that ultimate risk: liberty or death. In his novel, Whitehead successfully gets to the heart of how slavery reduces a person to a point beyond recoverable humanity with this masterful, weaving tale of America’s nefarious past. Blending history with fictional innovation, Whitehead breathes life…

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