• Washington Black

  • By: Esi Edugyan
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $30.79

Buy for $30.79

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international best seller Half-Blood Blues

Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize

When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black - an 11-year-old field slave - is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde - naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist - whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him. Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning - and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.

But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington's life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington's head. Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence.

From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole?

©2018 Ides of March, Inc. (P)2018 Penguin Random House

What listeners say about Washington Black

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just wow

This is a phenomenal book. The prose is beautiful and brought to life by the preformance. Esi Edugyan is clearly one of Canada's great writers. I expect Washington Black will be considered a classic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb!

Tremendous literary feat, Brilliantly written and original, This book is a compellingly readable tour de force. Loved every minute of it and the narrator was outstanding!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just as good as you have heard!

This book deserves every award and accolade it has received. It is astonishing in it's vividness and emotional impact. Although it follows the life of one man from his childhood as a slave to his adulthood in London and beyond, Washington's adventures around the world are a truly epic story. I don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said. It really is as great as you have heard.

The narrator, Dion Graham, gives a performance that is just as award worthy as Washington's tale. He gives so much emotion to the story and hearing how his voice changes as Wash ages is just incredible. Each of the characters has a distinct voice and sounds absolutely natural. I would swear this is a multi cast recording and not just one man!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good overall but bad attempts at accents

Overall, I liked this story and the narrator has a pleasant voice. One thing I found distracting though is his attempt to mimic accents of different characters. Accents for individual characters (including the 1st person narrator) seemed to be “on” sometimes and then sometimes gone. Accents for some characters is just weird, like the “unmistakable” Scotsman, Willard, sounds like he’s got a very faint brogue hiding behind what I guess is the residual habit of attempting a Bahamian accent for the main character. The Dutch accents for the Haas’ are pretty badly done too. Would have been better to just narrate in a consistent voice vs. sometimes using accents, sometimes not, and doing them poorly. Narrator also seems to bring in a very emotional tone in a few suitable places...but not in others where it could be merited. So, sometimes you get the “Jules Verne” kind of energy that I think is intended, but there’s fewer peaks of excitement or wonder in the voice than I think the story deserves to bring it fully to life. Worth a listen, but pay attention to the content and use your own imagination for the accents and ebb and flow of adventure.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Competent but far from outstanding

I’m hard pressed to understand why this novel has been the subject of lead reviews in prominent publications. The characters, the setting and the ostensible subject initially captured my interest, which soon waned however. The character development is shallow, the plot is weak, and the writing is bloated. The narration is excellent, the single high point.