地下铁道 | The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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地下铁道 | The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

少女科拉无家可归,受到欺辱和强暴,过着没有希望的生活。又一次残忍的鞭打,让她下定决心,逃出人间地狱,穿过沼泽的黑水和森林的幽暗,搭乘秘密的地下铁道,一路向北,投奔自由。

这是怎样的旅程啊。她沿路看到社会的邪恶,法律的不公,暴力无处不在,善良的光却是那么脆弱。好心人一个个倒下,但那身高两米、冷酷无情的猎奴者仍紧追不舍。也许你要有足够的勇气,才会决定看一本讲述奴隶制的小说。但你一旦踏上科拉的逃亡之路,便不可以中途放弃。这是令人心碎的故事,也是一段充满启迪的旅程,在无望的逆境中寻找生机,在黑暗的地下寻找光明。

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.

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