The Water Dancer

The Water Dancer

A Novel

Large Print - 2019 | Large print edition
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Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her--but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he's ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram's resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures. This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children--the violent and capricious separation of families--and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today's most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Large Print, [2019]
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780593168196
Branch Call Number: COATES
Characteristics: 558 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print


From the critics

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Jan 12, 2020

A tale of a life after slavery, with magic overtones.

Jan 08, 2020

Overall a flawed but decent read. The author didn't skim over nor dwell on the physical abuses of enslavement, however his depicting the white conductors of the underground railroad as pragmatic strategist, while reducing Tubman's exploits to a matter of mystical powers was offensive.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 07, 2020

Ta-Nehisi Coates' first novel is worth checking out. It will be most appreciated by those who have a fondness for magical realism.

Jan 06, 2020

I kind of had an idea about what I was getting into when I placed my name on the long hold list for this novel. ( I am not a frequent follower of Oprah's picks). I will say that this author is very talented, his words are descriptive and flow on the page creating vivid images for the reader.
After about 150pages, I just lost interest. I do feel that this novel has value on a literary and historical level, and I can foresee a possible movie made from this novel in the future.

Dec 30, 2019

Beautifully written. powerful. Couldn't put the book down.

Dec 27, 2019

I couldn't put this book down.
The author's descriptions kept me engrossed in the details of life as a slave.
I give it 5 stars. *****

Dec 21, 2019

Just wasn't in the mood for this.

SCL_Justin Dec 10, 2019

The Water Dancer is a good story about how slavery destroys people and the kind of non-supernatural people and heroes it takes to resist such terrible institutions even as they are dying off. The supernatural elements to the story actually help highlight that, which for whatever reason spoke more to me than Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

Dec 05, 2019

When I wasn't reading this book I was *thinking* about reading this book. Coates can write a sentence and description like no one's business.

Dec 03, 2019

The writing in this book lives up to the author's reputation, in other words very strong. It is also a good story and offers a variation on most typical stories of the underground railroad. However I did struggle with one thing. I found the delivery a bit dry. I don't know if it was tone or pacing. I can't put my finger on it, but there were large sections of it that were flat for me. I would still recommend it because I think it was just a personal taste issue that I struggle to even define.

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