BLT: Books & Lunch on Tuesdays

BLT meets on the second Tuesday of each month at noon. Bring your lunch and a healthy appetite for good discussion.

 width=Tuesday, December 10th
Washington Black

by Esi Edugyan

PLACE A COPY ON HOLD:
Book   

Edugyan's magnificent third novel (after Half-Blood Blues) again demonstrates her range and gifts. Eleven-year-old slave George Washington Black cuts sugar cane on a Barbados plantation owned by a sadistic Englishman named Erasmus Wilde until Wilde's scientist brother, Titch, visits in 1830 to work on the experimental airship he calls Cloud-cutter. Titch makes Wash his servant because the boy's weight makes suitable ballast for Cloud-cutter, teaches Wash to read, and nurtures his gift for scientific thought and illustration. As Wash is transformed--and confused--by Titch's tutelage, Erasmus becomes increasingly punitive toward him. Titch, afraid for his protege's life, devises a risky nighttime escape on Cloud-cutter, which collides with the masts of a ship bound for Virginia. After arriving there, the two head northward, getting as far as the Arctic before Titch, insisting that Wash stay behind, strikes out into the snow for reasons Wash cannot understand. Not knowing whether Titch is alive or dead, Wash continues his travels and scientific work. But he feels compelled to find out Titch's fate and learn why his mentor rejected him. Framing the story with rich evocations of the era's science and the world it studies, Edugyan mines the tensions between individual goodwill and systemic oppression, belonging and exclusion, wonder and terror, and human and natural order. The novel's patience feels essential: the characters' many passages from painful endings to tentative rebirths are necessarily slow and searching. Crafted in supple, nuanced prose, Edugyan's novel is both searing and beautiful..- Publishers Weekly (starred review)



 
 

  January

14th

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11th

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10th

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14th

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12th

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9th


Where: Howe Library
Room: Rotary Room
Time: 12:00 - 1:00