Getting on the Railroad

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I just got back from a trip to the Maze District in Canyonlands National Park. It was amazing, and I will do a post about the trip when I have some time to download all the pictures. But let me tell you now–there is nothing that will make you appreciate sitting on the couch and reading a good book more than a camping trip into the remote backcountry of one of the most rugged sections of our country!

when we returned to civilization, I was greeted by some great news: Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for The Underground Railroad! The guy had already won the National Book Award, so I feel pretty good about this pick for our reading series.

I don’t think all the accolades are necessary to see that this is going to be a really good book, though. That much is obvious fairly quickly. The language and story telling are natural and compelling, the characters are nuanced, and the story breaks from reality in the best, most thoughtful ways. Can you tell I’m a fan?

Honestly, I was turned off by the title. I didn’t want to read a book about runaway slaves because I’ve seen that story too many times, and in terrible, stereotypical, sentimental forms. Wow. This book is a surprise. It goes to show that you can take an over-told story and turn it on its head and get so much more meaning out of it.

Are there other books that do that? Give me your thoughts in the comments.

One comment

  1. I am on Chapter 8 and this is hard stuff. Its storytelling isn’t hackneyed or sentimental, but the sadness IS what I was expecting with an underground railroad novel. I need some of your conversation and analysis to make the emotionally harrowing journey worth it!

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