The Water Dancer

The New York Times Bestseller

    • 3.3 • 161 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

THE NEW YORK TIMES #1 BESTSELLER

OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICK

'One of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. I haven't felt this way since I first read Beloved . . .' Oprah Winfrey


Lose yourself in the stunning debut novel everyone is talking about - the unmissable historical story of injustice and redemption that resonates powerfully today

Hiram Walker is a man with a secret, and a war to win. A war for the right to life, to family, to freedom.

Born into bondage on a Virginia plantation, he is also born gifted with a mysterious power that he won't discover until he is almost a man, when he risks everything for a chance to escape. One fateful decision will carry him away from his makeshift plantation family and into the heart of the underground war on slavery...

'A transcendent work from a crucial political and literary artist' Diana Evans

'I've been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates' Toni Morrison

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2019
24 September
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
416
Pages
PUBLISHER
Penguin Books Ltd
SELLER
Penguin Books Limited
SIZE
1.9
MB

Customer Reviews

Kosh110 ,

Thoughtful and Poetic

Wonderful, thoughtful, and poetic. An unexpected twist to US slavery. The subject is always a tough read but this book is made softer without losing the unthinkable realities. I want to read more about the rise and fall of the pre civil war Virginia economy.

Buinamo ,

Amazing and Inspirational

There were many heart-breaking tragedies yet powerful and marvellous redemptions for an amazingly triumphant story.

rhitc ,

Working on the railroad

Author
African-American. Award-winning journalist, mainly for The Atlantic, and non-fiction writer. Between the World and Me (2015) was a best seller, and a finalist for the National Book Award. This is his first novel.

Premise
A gifted boy born into slavery on a Virginia tobacco plantation in the mid-1800s suffers through plenty to make good in the end.

Plot
Hiram Walker, son a slave mother and plantation owner father, remembers little of his mother (the eponymous dancer) who was sold when he was very young. He remembers lots of other stuff though, and discovers an apparently miraculous gift during his journey through appalling privation and maltreatment and escape via the Underground Railroad.

Characters
All the significant ones are developed expertly, and sympathetically, by Mr Coates.

Prose
Mr Coates is a master craftsman. His descriptions and use of metaphor are remarkable. I was less convinced when he dipped into magic realism, but that probably has more to do with my feelings about magic realism than the quality with which it is executed here.

Bottom line
I presume Mr Coates was already working on this when Colson Whitehead published The Underground Railroad in 2016. It could be argued that the world did not need a second novel on the same topic a couple of years later, but this is sufficiently different to make it a worthy addition to the canon. If I were into magic realism, I might have given it five stars, but I’m not, so I didn’t.

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