In this luminous debut, Margaret Wrinkle takes us on an unforgettable journey across continents and through time, from the burgeoning American South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul. Wash introduces a remarkable new voice in American literature.
In early 1800s Tennessee, two men find themselves locked in an intimate power struggle. Richardson, a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, has spent his life fighting not only for his country but also for wealth and status. When the pressures of westward expansion and debt threaten to destroy everything he’s built, he sets Washington, a young man he owns, to work as his breeding sire. Wash, the first member of his family to be born into slavery, struggles to hold onto his only solace: The spirituality inherited from his shamanic mother. As he navigates the treacherous currents of his position, despair and disease lead him to a potent healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop while she inspires him to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it. Once Richardson and Wash find themselves at a crossroads, all three lives are pushed to the brink.
“A masterly literary work…This debut occasions celebration. Haunting, tender and superbly measured, Wash is both redemptive and affirming.” (New York Times Book Review)
“The voices of the past cannot speak for themselves and must rely on the artists of the future to honor them. It’s a profound responsibility and one that Margaret Wrinkle meets in her brilliant novel, Wash.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Books like William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Edward P. Jones’ The Known World, and Russell Banks’ Cloudsplitter form a kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of their own. Add Margaret Wrinkle’s Wash to that illustrious company.” (The Dallas Morning News)
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Slavery's Subtle Horrors
I loved how the story, first and foremost, is about interwoven spiritual journeys -- the interwoven spiritual journeys of Wash, Pallas, Richardson, and so many others. Violence is present. Eroticism plays a role here and there. But both violence and eroticism are really deep in the background. Spirit takes center stage
This book reminds me of Roots by Alex Haley -- for it's telling of the stories of the intersecting lives of southern white folk and their slaves.
Rufus. He has a wonderful depth of character about him. I want to hear more about his experience on the boat -- about how and why he chose life over death
The actor who speaks the role of Wash, when it is Wash speaking in first person -- I don't know which actor that is, but he has a beautiful, musical voice, and I especially loved his performance