Cover art for The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club)

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club)

129 ratings


Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2017  The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.  In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its Black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.  Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for Black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share. 

©2016 Colson Whitehead (P)2016 Random House Audio

Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
Available on Audible
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Zone One

8 ratings


In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka Zone One - but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety - the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives. Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. And then things start to go wrong. Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

©2011 Colson Whitehead (P)2011 Random House Audio

Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
Available on Audible
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The Intuitionist

5 ratings


In a marvelous debut novel that has been compared to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Joseph Heller's ,i>Catch-22, Colson Whitehead has created a strangely skewed world of elevators and the people who control their ups and downs. Lila Mae Watson - the first black female inspector in the world's tallest city - has the highest performance rating of anyone in the Department of Elevator Inspectors. This upsets her superiors, because Lila is an Intuitionist: she inspects elevators simply by the feelings she gets riding in them. When a brand new elevator crashes, Lila becomes caught in the conflict between her Intuitionist methods and the beliefs of the power-holding Empiricists. Her only hope for clearing her name lies in finding the plans of an eccentric elevator genius for the "black box": a perfect elevator. A brilliant allegory for the interaction of the races, The Intuitionist is also an intriguing mystery, solidly grounded by the exceptional narration of Peter Jay Fernandez.

©1999 Colson Whitehead (P)2000 Recorded Books

Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad

3 ratings


Cora, seize ans, est esclave sur une plantation de coton dans la Géorgie d'avant la guerre de Sécession. Abandonnée par sa mère lorsqu'elle était enfant, elle survit tant bien que mal à la violence de sa condition. Lorsque Caesar, un esclave récemment arrivé de Virginie, lui propose de s'enfuir, elle accepte et tente, au péril de sa vie, de gagner avec lui les États libres du Nord. De la Caroline du Sud à l'Indiana en passant par le Tennessee, Cora va vivre une incroyable odyssée. Traquée comme une bête par un impitoyable chasseur d'esclaves qui l'oblige à fuir, sans cesse, elle fera tout pour conquérir sa liberté. L'une des prouesses de Colson Whitehead est de matérialiser l' "Underground Railroad", le célèbre réseau clandestin d'aide aux esclaves en fuite qui devient ici une véritable voie ferrée souterraine, pour explorer, avec une originalité et une maîtrise époustouflantes, les fondements et la mécanique du racisme. À la fois récit d'un combat poignant et réflexion saisissante sur la lecture de l'Histoire, ce roman est une œuvre politique aujourd'hui plus que jamais nécessaire.

©2016 / 2017 Colson Whitehead, tous droits réservés / Éditions Albin Michel pour la traduction française (P)2017 Audiolib

Available on Audible
Cover art for Nickel Boys [French Version]

Nickel Boys [French Version]

3 ratings


Dans la Floride ségrégationniste des années 1960, le jeune Elwood Curtis prend très à cœur le message de paix de Martin Luther King. Prêt à intégrer l'université, il voit s'évanouir ses rêves d'avenir lorsque, à la suite d'une erreur judiciaire, on l'envoie à la Nickel Academy, une maison de correction qui s'engage à faire des délinquants des "hommes honnêtes et honorables". Il s'agit en réalité d'un endroit cauchemardesque, où les pensionnaires sont soumis aux pires sévices. Elwood trouve toutefois un allié précieux en la personne de Turner, avec qui il se lie d'amitié. Mais l'idéalisme de l'un et le scepticisme de l'autre auront des conséquences déchirantes. Couronné en 2017 par le prix Pulitzer pour Underground Railroad puis en 2020 pour Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead rejoint William Faulkner et John Updike parmi les très rares auteurs à avoir reçu deux fois cette consécration. S'inspirant de faits réels, il continue d'explorer l'inguérissable blessure raciale de l'Amérique et donne avec ce nouveau roman saisissant une sépulture littéraire à des centaines d'innocents, victimes de l'injustice du fait de leur couleur de peau.

©2019 / 2020 Doubleday, une division de Penguin Random House LLC / Editions Albin Michel (P)2020 Audiolib

Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
Available on Audible
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The Noble Hustle


“I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.” So begins the hilarious and unexpectedly moving adventures of an amateur player who lucked into a seat at the biggest card game in town - the World Series of Poker. In 2011 Grantland magazine sent award-winning novelist Colson Whitehead to brave the harrowing, seven-day gauntlet of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It was the assignment of a lifetime, except for one hitch - he'd never played in a casino tournament before. With just six weeks to train, our humble narrator plunged into the gritty subculture of high-stakes Texas Hold’em. There’s poker here, sure, which means joy and heartbreak, grizzled cowboys from the game’s golden age, and teenage hotshots weaned on internet gambling. Not to mention the overlooked problem of coordinating Atlantic City bus schedules with your kid’s drop-off and pick-up at school. And then there’s Vegas. In a world full of long shots and short odds, The Noble Hustle is a sure bet, a raucously funny social satire whose main target is the author himself. Whether you’ve been playing cards your whole life or have never picked up a hand, you’re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.

©2014 Colson Whitehead (P)2014 Random House Audio

Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)


In this Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times best-selling follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. When Elwood Curtis, a Black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow "delinquent" Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and “should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best" (Entertainment Weekly). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize One of the Best Books of the Year: Time, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vox, Variety, Christian Science Monitor, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Literary Hub, BuzzFeed, The New York Public Library. New York Times best seller National Book Critics Circle Award finalist One of Time Magazine's 10 Best Fiction Books of the Decade Winner of the Kirkus Prize Longlisted for the National Book Award Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2020

©2019 Colson Whitehead (P)2019 Random House Audio

Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Colossus of New York

The Colossus of New York


New York Times best-selling author and New York native Colson Whitehead composes a breathtaking tribute to his hometown. Whitehead captures the very essence of New York, infusing his reflections with the energy that permeates the city.Thoughts on Central Park, the subway, Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and much more bring the city to life as never before. Reading his own words, Whitehead shapes his book into an unforgettable meditation on the greatest city in the world.

©2003 Colson Whitehead (P)2003 Recorded Books

Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor


The warm, funny, and supremely original new novel from one of the most acclaimed writers in America The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school, when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria, his social doom is sealed for the next four years. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although he's just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is. There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of '85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer. In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead, using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention, lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.

©2009 Colson Whitehead (P)2009 Random House

Narrator: Mirron Willis
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Los chicos de la Nickel [The Nickel Boys]

Los chicos de la Nickel [The Nickel Boys]


Premio Pulitzer 2020 Una de las 10 mejores novelas de la década pasada según la revista Time. El autor de El ferrocarril subterráneo (Premio Pulitzer 2017) vuelve a ganar el Pulitzer con la estremecedora historia de dos amigos que luchan por su supervivencia. Bestseller de The New York Times Premiado con The Kirkus Prize Nominado al National Book Award y finalista del National Book Critics Circle Award Mejor libro de 2019 según Time. Entre los 10 mejores libros de 2019 según Publishers Weekly. Entre los 20 mejores libros de 2019 según Amazon y Apple. Entre los 10 mejores libros de 2019 según los libreros de Barnes & Nobles Desde pequeño, Elwood Curtis ha escuchado con devoción, en el viejo tocadiscos de su abuela, los discursos de Martin Luther King. Sus ideas, al igual que las de James Baldwin, han hecho de este adolescente negro un estudiante prometedor que sueña con un futuro digno. Pero de poco sirve esto en la Academia Nickel para chicos: un reformatorio que se vanagloria de convertir a sus internos en hombres hechos y derechos pero que oculta una realidad inhumana respaldada por muchos y obviada por todos. Elwood intenta sobrevivir a este lugar junto a Turner, su mejor amigo en la Nickel. El idealismo de uno y la astucia del otro les llevará a tomar una decisión que tendrá consecuencias irreparables. Después de El ferrocarril subterráneo, Colson Whitehead nos brinda una historia basada en el estremecedor caso real de un reformatorio de Florida que destrozó la vida de miles de niños y que le ha hecho merecedor de su segundo premio Pulitzer. Esta deslumbrante novela, a caballo entre el momento presente y el final de la segregación racial estadounidense de los sesenta, interpela directamente al oyente y muestra la genialidad de un escritor en la cima de su carrera. Please note: This audiobook is in Spanish.

©2019 Colson Whitehead (P)2020 Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, S.A.U.

Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
Available on Audible
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John Henry Days


J. Sutter is a bonafide junketeer - a freelance writer, travelling from city to city, hungry for free meals and the discarded sales receipts of others to claim on his expense account.Travelling into the backwoods of West Virginia to write a piece on the unveiling of the new John Henry postage stamp and the ensuing John Henry Days festival, J. continues his nearly record-setting, three-month junket binge. But when he begins to choke on a piece of prime rib at a press dinner, shadows from the past are summoned forth and he leaves the mountain a changed man. Colson Whitehead is the author of the critically acclaimed, QPB New Voices Award-winning novel, The Intuitionist. Narrated by Peter Jay Fernandez, John Henry Days is both an ingenious retelling of the American legend of John Henry and a fascinating look into the world of contemporary journalism.

©2001 Colson Whitehead (P)2001 Recorded Books

Length: 17 hrs and 41 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Die Nickel Boys

Die Nickel Boys


Nach dem Triumph von "Underground Railroad", der neue Roman von Colson Whitehead.

Florida, Anfang der 1960er-Jahre. Der sechzehnjährige Elwood lebt mit seiner Großmutter im schwarzen Ghetto von Tallahassee und ist ein Bewunderer Martin Luther Kings. Als er einen Platz am College bekommt, scheint sein Traum von gesellschaftlicher Veränderung in Erfüllung zu gehen. Doch durch einen Zufall gerät er in ein gestohlenes Auto und wird ohne gerechtes Verfahren in die Besserungsanstalt Nickel Academy gesperrt.

Dort werden die Jungen missbraucht, gepeinigt und ausgenutzt. Erneut bringt Whitehead den tief verwurzelten Rassismus und das nicht enden wollende Trauma der amerikanischen Geschichte zutage. Sein Roman, der auf einer wahren Geschichte beruht, ist ein Schrei gegen die Ungerechtigkeit. Mit seinem Gespür für literarische Texte interpretiert der Schauspieler Torben Kessler die Geschichte der Nickel Boys Elwood und Turner einfühlsam und doch schonungslos.

©2019 Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co KG, München. Übersetzung von Henning Ahrens (P)2019 Hörbuch Hamburg HHV GmbH, Hamburg

Narrator: Torben Kessler
Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
Available on Audible