A Free State: A Novel

A Free State: A Novel

Tom Piazza


The writer of City of Refuge returns with a startling and robust novel of race, violence, and identification set at the eve of the Civil War.

The 12 months is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the preferred kind of leisure in a kingdom approximately to be torn aside through the conflict over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and an excellent musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, the place he earns cash residing via his wits and acting on the road. he's befriended through James Douglass, chief of a favored minstrel troupe suffering to compete with dozens of comparable ensembles, who imagines that Henry’s ability and magnetism may possibly fix his troupe’s sagging fortunes.

The challenge is that black and white performers usually are not allowed to seem jointly onstage. jointly, the 2 concoct a masquerade to guard Henry’s id, and Henry creates a sensation in his first appearances with the troupe. but at the same time their plan starts off to opposite the troupe’s decline, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been hired by way of Henry’s former grasp to trace down the runaway and retrieve him, in any respect necessary.

Bursting with narrative rigidity and unforgettable characters, shot via with unforeseen turns and perception, A loose State is an exciting reimagining of the yank tale by way of a novelist on the peak of his powers.

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