At the beginning of Esi Edugyan's new book Washington Black, it seems the narrator is not going anywhere.
It's the 1830s, and the narrator, a boy named George Washington Black, is enslaved on the British-controlled island of Barbados. He seems likely to be worked to death in sugar cane fields — until he's carried away.
He's made into an assistant of a visiting white man, and they become friends. Sort of.
"Any true friendship between them is impossible because of the power imbalance – it's just too great," Edugyan says in an interview.