The New York Times

Airborne

“Washington Black”

By Esi Edugyan

334 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $26.95

When the novel “Washington Black” opens, it is 1830 and the young George Washington Black, who narrates his own story, is a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation called Faith, protected, or at least watched over, by an older woman, Big Kit. As a new master takes charge, the fear is palpable. The accounts of murders and punishments and random cruelties are chilling and unsparing. Big Kit can see no way out except death: “Death was a door. I think that is what she wished me to understand. She did not fear it. She was of an ancient faith rooted in the high river lands of Africa, and in that faith the dead were reborn, whole, back in their

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times4 min read
How To Travel Using An E-Bike Or Scooter
If you follow the safety precautions, an electric bike, scooter or motorbike is an easy and cheap way to tour most urban centers.
The New York Times4 min read
Blue Skies Ahead for Cheap Flights, But Read the Fine Print
More no-frills carriers as well as major airlines are offering deals on international flights. Just book ahead and be wary of ancillary fees — they can really add up.
The New York Times6 min read
Clara Schumann, Music's Unsung Renaissance Woman
Schumann is among the most celebrated names in the classical music canon — for most people conjuring the poetic and intense work of Robert Schumann, the Romantic master. But when the Schumann in question is his wife, Clara, the name should remind us