(Book Review / 感想) The Underground Railroad / Colson Whitehead

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Since this book was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017, and also I love historical fiction, my expectation was very high. That perhaps caused it not satisfying enough.


The story is about the slavery and the journey to escape from the plantation. The underground railroad appears in the story is based on the real secret network that saved so many of the lives in history, but developed with a little bit of imagination to fit into a fiction style.

アメリカの奴隷制と、その奴隷逃走の物語。「地下鉄道」が登場するのですが、そのアイディアは実際に存在した「The Underground Railroad」という秘密組織ネットワークをベースにつくられたもの。でも、この本の中では決して史実に忠実というわけではなく、創作が含まれています。

Some part of the book was interesting, such as the depiction of the railroad and the atmosphere/scenery in the different areas in the US. But I prefer the book that I can feel emotions of the characters as if I am becoming one of them. In this book, I rather felt distance from the characters that I felt more like hearing story of slavery as the telling from the third person. If this book is just a ‘telling,’ it does not have to be a fiction, it could be non-fiction.


Especially because this book is about the historically important issue, slavery, (I know it is going to be hard, but) I wanted to feel pain, passion and freedom with the main character Cora. Otherwise, I would love to read a non-fiction book on the same topic instead because it tells the historical fact more accurately and helps me understand the issue well.


Not only Cora, who was the main character of this story but also many characters were very mysterious, like Caesar. I barely know most of them. There are too many characters who did not develop in the story. Thus, I forgot most of them in the end.


I thought it is very disappointing that I could not enjoy this book very much because the part of their journey on the underground railroad was gripping.


It seems like this book is getting a lot of good reviews. I hesitate to rate this just 3/5. It’s just this book was not my taste…





More reviews available on my book blog Intermission Ambience
書評ブログの Intermission Ambience にも本のレビューを書いています。あわせてぜひご覧ください!

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