Set in the 1830’s,Washington Blackis an epic, historical novel. It begins on a slave plantation in Barbados and by the most unexpected and inventive means, transports its young protagonist, Washington Black, off the island and on a journey that takes him around the world, in pursuit of freedom and the man whose approval he so desperately seeks. It is a novel that explores the nature of evil, moral delusion, and the limits of responsibility as well as being a coming-of-age story where survival marks the transition from boy to man.
Underpinning the more sobering aspects of the novel is a glorious celebration of the creative spirit and the power of the imagination. Despite everything, Washington’s ability to connect with and inspire others, and to draw strength from his own inner life, is an inspiration and a joy that speaks to the contemporary world.