My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is not your ordinary underground railroad story. Myth and magical realism combine to trade one set of dangers for another. It is more a story of the main character, Hiram Walker’s development. And of relationships.
The novel is narrated by the older Hiram (frequently addressed as Hi) looking back on his youth. Reflections on youthful decisions increase as the novel progresses. Hi’s growth is motivated and believable. The pace of narration is steady with mostly moderate ups and downs (a few more dramatic).
The life of slavery is neither romanticized nor told in harrowing detail. Because Hi is a house slave, we do not see the hard labor. Brutality is referenced more than it is shown. Although more attention is given to positive experiences of caring for one another and community, there are constant reminders that even so, the Tasked, as slaves are called, are not free.