Review: Washington Black


This Giller Prize-winning novel takes the reader and main character on quite a journey. Told in the first-person POV (my personal fav), Washington Black by Esi Edugyan is a coming-of-age story about a black slave named George Washington “Wash” Black, his escape from slavery and his travels and relationships into adulthood.

It is beautifully written. Edugyan’s wordsmithing is exquisite and enviable. The first half of Washington Black is adventure and excitement while the second half is more grown up and reflective. I preferred the adventurous half because it was fun but as Wash grows up and reflects on his past, his fun adventures don’t seem so fun. More superficial.

The book’s major themes come from putting too much faith in your idols rather than having confidence in yourself. It’s a little more “literary fiction” than I usually read but I enjoyed it very much.

The narration by Dion Graham was probably one of the best audiobook reading performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.


Jillianne Hamilton

Jillianne Hamilton is the author of three novels and one non-fiction book. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award and she is currently working on her debut historical fiction novel. Jill lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island with her patient husband and a mischievous corgi.


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