The publishing of the novel Underground Railroad (2016) comes at an interesting time in America. Although a novel, author Colson Whitehead’s fiction touches on our history as a country and society – forcing the reader to confront foundational aspects that are highly admirable and utterly disturbing.
Could so many Americans be that magnanimous while others are treacherous? The answer in Underground Railroad is yes – both in relative and absolute terms. Unfortunately in non fiction history – the answer is yes as well. Underground Railroad has highly imaginative fantasy aspects that are presented so successfully they border on feeling real (e.g., the physical railroad). It also presents characters in settings that are beyond imagination. Unfortunately real history confirms what Whitehead presents in many storylines did actually occur (e.g., rape, torture, mob mentality).
Underground Railroad is a quick and great read (306 pages).