underground railroad by colson whitehead
escaped slave girl travels in search of freedom on literal railroad underground through history of slavery and black oppression in america.
i really didn't connect with this at all, i'm not advocating for misery porn but given the subject matter this went too far in the other direction, the prose is incredibly passive and matter of fact, there's a nonchalance to horrible, horrible things happening, a weird distance between the story and how the author tells it, or something. really clashes with the more fantastical genre elements as well.
proper lack of characterisation too. i was emotionally invested a few times but only because of how terrible things got & in reminding myself that it genuinely happened to real people, he describes the physical appearance of everyone that pops up but they're completely forgettable as characters, even the protagonist and villain are ciphers. i understand this is an allegorical book but it doesn't stop you chucking some recognisable humanity in there colson mate.
idk, obviously america is in a place with race relations at the moment & black people & americans are gonna get miles more out of this, but i don't get why it's winning loads of awards or acclaim.