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Book Club
"Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead
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Contact
Cynthia White
530/458-7671




Meeting Date: September 12, 2019

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Upcoming Selections & Meeting Dates
November 2019:  "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate
January 2020:  "Slaughterhouse 5" by Kurt Vonnegut
March 2020:  "Educated" by Tara Westover
May 2020:  "We Are Water" by Wally Lamb

Past Selections
May 2019: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
April 2019: The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama by Pierre Berton
February 2019: All They Will Call You by Tim Hernandez
January 2019: There There by Tommy Orange
November 2018:  Immortal Irishman
by Tim Egan
September 2018: Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
May 2018: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
April 2018: The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
March 2018: The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
January 2018: Barkskins
 by Annie Proulx
December 2017: 
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
October 2017:  Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
September 2017:  Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
May 2017: The Green Road by Anne Enright
March/April 2017: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
February 2017: Wintering by Peter Geye
January 2017: 11-22-63 by Stephen King