Here is a taster for the upcoming book review by Barbara Sibbald, of Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. The slave, Washington Black, explains why he chose to stay with his master, Titch, rather than take the underground railroad to Canada and freedom:
I recalled suddenly something Big Kit had said — that free men had total dominion over their choices; that they controlled every aspect of their lives. Nothing happened that they themselves did not sanction.
I met Titch’s eye boldly. “If I am a Freeman, then it is my choice where I go.”
“Even if that means hiding in the Arctic.”
Mister Edgar [helping the runaways] glanced at me in puzzlement.
I suppose I believed there to be some bravery in this choice. I suppose it struck my boyhood self as an act of fidelity, gratitude, a return of the kindness I had been shown and never grown used to. Perhaps I felt Titch to be the only sort of family I had left. Perhaps, perhaps; even now I cannot speak with certainty. I know only that in the moment I was terrified to my very core, and that the idea of embarking on a perilous journey without Titch filled me with a panic so savage it felt as if I were being asked to perform some brutal act upon myself, to sever my own throat.
—Esi Edugyan, Washington Black (HarperCollins Publishers 2018), p. 182.