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review 2017-09-14 17:03
Rezension | Underground Railroad von Colson Whitehead
Underground Railroad: Roman - Colson Whitehead,Nikolaus Stingl

Beschreibung

 

Cora ist eine junge Frau, und eine von vielen Farbigen, die auf einer Baumwollplantage in Georgia ihren Dienst verrichten. Die Behandlung der Sklaven auf der Plantage ist grausam und so ist der Wunsch zu fliehen unermesslich groß. Schließlich gelingt es Cora und Caesar zu fliehen und mit Hilfe des geheimen Fluchtnetzwerkes der Underground Railroad stehen ihre Chancen auf ein freies Leben gut.

 

Dennoch gestaltet sich die Flucht und das neue Leben schwieriger als gedacht. Kopfgeldjäger und die verschiedenen Gesetze der einzelnen Staaten erschweren es den Farbigen ungemein, aus der Sklaverei auszubrechen.

 

Meine Meinung

 

Colson Whitehead befasst sich in seinem neuen Roman „Underground Railroad“, der bereits mit dem Pulitzer Preis 2017 ausgezeichnet wurde, mit einem Thema dass schon seit Jahrhunderten nicht an Aktuallität verliert – Rassismus.

 

"Sie war nicht überrascht, als sein Charakter sich zeigte – wenn man lang genug wartete, tat er das immer." (Underground Railroad, Seite 21 (epub Version)

 

Schonungslos zeichnet der Autor mit Hilfe der fiktive Lebensgeschichte über die junge farbige Cora das menschenunwürdige Leben einer Sklavin auf einer Baumwollplantage. Der Blick wendet sich auf den harten Arbeitsalltag und die damit einhergehenden Ängste, Sorgen und Probleme. Dabei wird nicht nur durch die schlechte Behandlung durch den Plantagenbetreiber, sondern auch durch die Konflikte zwischen den Sklaven deutlich, welch grauenvolles Leiden, in seelischer wie auch körperlicher Hinsicht, einem jeden Sklaven aufgebürdet wird. Der klare und treffende Schreibstil von Colson Whitehead lässt eine dazu passende Atmosphäre entstehen, die den Leser fest in den Griff nimmt und geradewegs zu erdrücken scheint. Emphatische Menschen und zart besaitete Menschen sollten diesen Lesestoff gut dosieren.

 

"Die Weißen fraßen einen auf, aber manchmal taten das auch die Farbigen."  (Underground Railroad, Seite 60 (epub Version)

 

Durch den geschickten Aufbau der Geschichte erzeugt Colson Whitehead einen unaufdringlichen Spannungssog. Kurze Kapitel aus der Perspektive diverser Akteure wie z. B. der eines Sklavenfängers (Kopfgeldjäger), Arztes oder einer Helferin des Flüchtlingsnetzwerkes der Underground Railroad geben ein umfassendes Bild ab. Allerdings fand ich einige Abschnitte etwas zu kurz angerissen, vielleicht hat sich mir gerade deshalb der Sinn dieser „kurzen Ausflüge“ im Kontext zu Coras Geschichte nicht immer ganz erschlossen.

 

Im Gegensatz zu diesen kurzen Kapiteln überzeugen die längeren Kapitel aus Coras Perspektive ungemein. Der durch die Kolonisierung Amerikas enstandene Sklavenhandel wird dem Leser durch die mutige und kämpferische Hauptprotagonistin auf eine sehr emotionale Weise näher gebracht. Coras Geschichte hat Seite um Seite eine immer größer werdende Sogwirkung entwickelt und mich fest an die Seiten gebannt.

 

"Sie waren selbst Geister, gefangen zwischen zwei Welten: der Wirklichkeit ihrer Verbrechen und dem Jenseits, das ihnen wegen dieser Verbrechen verweigert wurde."  (Underground Railroad, Seite 178 (epub Version)

 

Cora glingt die Flucht über die unterirdischen Wege der Underground Railroad. Was in der Realität für ein Flüchtlingsnetzwerk aus Gegnern der Sklaverei stand, die sich der Metaphern der Eisenbahn bedienten, wird in dem Roman wortwörtlich zum Sinnbild. Im Laufe des Plots macht man Bekanntschaft mit Schaffnern, Stations- und Bahnhofsvorstehern die sich mit Herzblut für die Sache einsetzen. Ich hätte mir gewünscht, dass man über dieses Netzwerk noch mehr erfährt und vor allem, dass die fiktive Seite der Geschichte und die historischen Hintergründe dazu in einem Nachwort erläutert werden.

 

Fazit

 

Colson Whiteheads Roman über Rassenwahnsinn und das menschliche Bestreben nach Freiheit geht tief unter die Haut.

Source: www.bellaswonderworld.de/rezensionen/rezension-underground-railroad-von-colson-whitehead
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text 2017-09-13 03:41
Thoughts on the Eve of the 2017 Man Booker Shortlist
Home Fire: A Novel - Kamila Shamsie
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
Days Without End - Sebastian Barry
Autumn: A Novel - Ali Smith
The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
Solar Bones - Mike McCormack
History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

The Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement is hours away and I've been working hard to read my way through the list. Despite my best intentions, I was only able to completely read seven of this year's nominees as well as three others in part. That leaves three novels that are at this point a complete mystery to me, so I cannot speak on them. Here are some thoughts on who might make the list tomorrow.

I think Home Fire, Exit West, and Days Without End are the three strongest contenders from the ten I've read. I will be surprised if these three do not make the shortlist. I'll be really surprised if none of the three do.

Personally, I didn't enjoy The Underground Railroad much, but I think it also stands a good chance of being shortlisted. I'll be annoyed if wins the Prize given how much attention it has garnered this year, but a shortlist nomination would be accepted.

Rounding out the list is difficult. Autumn and Solar Bones are possible contenders.

I'd love to see History of Wolves on the list as it has been a personal favorite, so far. I know many readers had a very different reaction to this novel, however, so it's a long shot to make the list. (And it has zero chance of winning the Prize.)

If I had to put money on six and only six titles, they'd be
1. Home Fire
2. Days Without End
3. Exit West
4. The Underground Railroad
5. Autumn

6. History of Wolves (anything's possible, right?)

Have you been reading the Man Booker nominees? Have any thoughts on who might be shortlisted?

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review 2017-09-10 03:38
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead

A woman attempts to escape slavery in this astounding adult historical. Let’s review!

 

An account of a young woman escaping enslavement using an underground railroad system sounds like dystopian fiction. Only it’s not dystopian. Mr. Whitehead writes a poignant yet brutal portrayal of American slavery. Cora’s journey is stunning; her perseverance and defiance of the status quo utterly breathtaking.

 

Certain liberties are taken in regards to the actual underground railroad system, but they do not detract from the historical setting. The point-of-view shifts from Cora to secondary characters throughout the novel. Chapters are not traditional in nature, tending to run very long due to their unique nature. The audio book narrator is absolutely phenomenal, hitting the right notes and tones along the way.

 

tl;dr A harrowing tale of American slavery told from multiple perspectives. You will not want to miss this one.

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review 2017-09-02 21:10
Most boring Zombie Dystopia Book I Have Ever Read
Zone One - Colson Whitehead

I read this for the "Diverse Voices" square. "Zone One" by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead is an African American author. I read one other book by him "The Underground Railroad" and decided that if that book was fantastic, this would be too. Unfortunately that wasn't true. This book was divided into three parts and the only part that became mildly interesting was the "Saturday" section. "Sunday" was the shortest and for that I'm thankful. Though the writing was top notch, the flow was off and I was bored. Maybe if this was told in the first person it would have worked better.

 

Story begins with a Mark Spitz (not his real name) remembering visiting his Uncle in New York. From there the book lumbers along til you get to the point, the world has devolved due to something that has turned some of us into skels (zombies). Mark and his unit have come back to take over what is called Zone One (island south of Canal Street). The idea is that they sweep buildings to ensure that all of the undead are out down. Mark is part of a three person (don't know why so few) unit that is sweeping. We find out units at play throughout the course of the story. Mark and his unit mates (Gary and Kaitlyn) all have roles to play in this new world. 

 

Beginning with a countdown (Friday) you know something is going to happen by the end of the book. Too bad I could see it coming a mile away. Hello plot contrivance my old friend. What? Yes, I know you have nothing to do with this, but you have to admit this was a mess. 

 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are just hodgepodge tales of things that happened to Mark pre zombie plague and after. It is not told in a linear format so enjoy that. It jumps around a lot to the point that I stopped trying to make sense of the timeline. I just didn't care and wanted to be done. 

 

I also started thinking about The Walking Dead and realizing that show even with it's heaps of issues, is still better than this book. There's actually development of some of the characters over time and even when it feels like the A plot has ground to a halt, there's still something to root for. I didn't care a whit about any of the characters we meet. We don't get to know them at all. 

 

 

 

 

I think Whitehead wanted to show that at our core, humans, are selfish and when push comes to shove we will trample on each other to get out alive. But that's too cynical for me. We read of some settlements that are set up now that the worst of the plague seems to be over. But what's that plot contrivance? Yeah I don't know, that all got ignored for that whatever ending.

 

Part of the book is taken up by people's "Last Night" tales, AKA the last night before the end of the world as they knew it. That was an interesting idea. Whitehead would have been better off just making that the book. Follow unit members as they go to secure a building, settle up for the night and tell each other their stories. Also tell it in the damn first person. Sigh. 

 

The flow was awful. "Friday" was the worst of the sections. If you can get through that, cheers. 

 

The setting is in America and mostly in New York with some forays here and there with Mark Spitz. 

 

The ending was an eyeroll moment. I actually want to read another book for this square, but will see where I get with my reads. Back to the library this goes. 

 

 

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text 2017-09-02 20:13
Reading progress update: I've read 85%.
Zone One - Colson Whitehead

I'm reading on autopilot and taking nothing in.

 

We are now onto Sunday. Thank goodness almost at the end of this book.

 

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