Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dear Great Book Guru,   Fall has arrived here in Sea Cliff and how lovely it is! One of my favorite autumn sights is the beautiful maple tree  basking in its full red bejeweled glory behind the Children’s Library.   Amidst all this beauty, I feel the need for some serious reading.    Any recommendations?
Lover of Sea Cliff Every Season of the Year

Dear Lover of Sea Cliff …, I just finished a remarkable, very troubling historical novel: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead.  This award winning work is told from the perspective of Cora, a young woman who has been enslaved all her short life. Her grandmother had been kidnapped from an African village and eventually brought to the Randall plantation in Georgia where Cora was born. Her journey is told in harsh detail and serves as a prelude to her granddaughter’s suffering and abuse.  Early in the book, Cora sees a way to escape the horrors of plantation life by taking “the underground railroad.” Colson adds a level of magical realism here by making the railroad a subway of sorts- tracks deep underground on which actual trains ran emerging in various states, each location holding its own peculiar torments and terrors for the riders.  Interspersed with Cora’s story are short vignettes of historical and fictional characters she meets along her way. While set in pre Civil War times, the novel underscores the brutal legacy of racism that lingers in the American psyche.  A remarkable book and highly recommended!

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