I have taught this clever little novel a number of times, and will again in Term Four, as a context text for Family and Society.
It is set on a slave plantation in America’s deep south, and the difference views held at the time around slavery. Each chapter is told from a different perspective; the old slave who has made peace with his lot and tries to be the best slave he can, his disgruntled son who has been taught to read and write and resents his lot, the plantation owner who feels good treatment of slaves in the human way to be a slaver, his headstrong daughter who has fallen in love with a slave, the overseer who must discipline slaves and the local newspaper.
Its starts with a tragedy – a young slave being whipped for attempting escape. It turns out the overseer is his half-brother. We then unwind the story that lead to this event.
Lyrical in places, and affirming of freedom, this is a lovely read.