Get a free audiobook

Washington Black

Written by: Esi Edugyan
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)
CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

A dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international best seller Half-Blood Blues

Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize

When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black - an 11-year-old field slave - is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde - naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist - whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him. Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning - and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.

But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington's life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington's head. Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence.

From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole?

©2018 Ides of March, Inc. (P)2018 Penguin Random House

Hear the Author Read an Excerpt

At Between the Pages: An Evening with the Scotiabank Giller Prize in Toronto on November 4, 2018, author Esi Edugyan read an excerpt from her novel Washington Black.
0:00

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    149
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    152
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    135
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome!

The characters and story are alive , compelling and sweeping. An amazing experience. A tad of love, science and depravation as the world is struggling to mature. Timeless.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant storytelling and narration

Esi Edugyan is an amazing writer. I loved “Half-blood Blues” and hew new novel - “Washington Black “ - is just as well-written. She creates characters that are complex and believable. And the story is engrossing, so much so that I had difficulty putting the book down (rather to stop listening!).
The narration was excellent! Dion Graham does a wonderful job of distinguishing characters and capturing the mood and energy of the story. My one critique is that sometimes the narration was too low in volume.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect book for someone who spends a lot of time on the road

A beautifully written love story between a teacher and his pupil. Love of the highest and purest nature.
A long journey that takes the listener to many corners of the world - from blazing heat to blistering cold. On the journey the listener gets to know and better understand the dysfunctional characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read!

Didn't put it down. Highly recommend. If you like historical drama you'll love this novel.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Climb and slide

This book gripped me from the start but about 2/3’s way through it seem to get less detailed and the storytelling telling seemed hurried. The last 1/3 is not told at the same pace as the previous portion of the book. However it is still a very compelling listen and I’ll definitely be seeking out more from this author.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible experience

I didn’t want to stop listening. This story takes you on an incredible journey and the imagery is so beautifully detailed that you are there! I would recommend this book to everyone.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

ending was a bit soft- hoped for something signifi

ending was a bit soft- hoping for something more significant as to the years long separation.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pb
  • 2019-01-05

this story kept my interest to the end and beyond! well written and the presenter brought it to life.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

captivating

Even from the most perilous of circumstances, one still has a purpose. This book is captivating, exploring the discourses of identity, faith, and determination.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good story of triumph over adversity.

The narrator is excellent. He kept me going through a long story that was worthwhile finishing