“Washington Black, a Bajan 11-year-old slave on a sugar plantation whose life is forever changed when he is removed from hard labor and “loaned” by his owner to Christopher “Titch” Wilde. Titch is an eccentric naturalist, inventor and abolitionist who initially wants the young Washington to serve as ballast in his experiments with hot air balloons.
Washington turns out to be a gifted artist and naturalist himself. The two develop a fraught relationship that takes them from Barbados to the Arctic and the deserts of Morocco until Washington ultimately gains his freedom. Told from Washington’s point of view, the novel examines both what it means to be truly free and the complex power dynamics of its central relationship.”