Just last week, we told you that booksellers around Seattle were buzzing about Colson Whitehead's upcoming novel Underground Railroad. We quoted Vlad from Third Place Books, who praised "Whitehead’s unflinching exploration of the various manifestations of the economics of slavery."
Today, Oprah added her approval to the chorus of booksellers and librarians by adding the novel to her Oprah's Book Club label. "The September issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (available Aug. 9) will feature the former talk-show queen's interview with Whitehead," USA Today reports.
This is great news for Colson Whitehead — a fabulous novelist who has never quite garnered the appreciation that he deserves, in part because he's such a fearless experimenter. No one of his books is like any other of his books: his debut novel The Intuitionist is a sci-fi thriller; John Henry Days is a big novel of ideas about the distinctly American myth of John Henry; Apex Hides the Hurt is a short, satirical novel in the style of Heller; Zone One is a zombie novel; Sag Harbor is a quiet, semiautobiographical story. Hopefully the Oprah acclaim will propel some of those other books to the top of reading piles and bestseller lists. Whitehead is the real deal — a novelist with an incredible body of work who puts art before personality — and he deserves every ounce of attention he's getting today.