Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Torrey, Michele. Voyage of midnight

Torrey, Michele. Voyage of midnight. Knopf, 2006 [0-375-82382-4]
Philip thinks he is an orphan doomed to a hard life until his seafaring uncle shows up and then promptly disappears. Eventually Philip finds him in New Orleans and is taken on his ship as assistant to the surgeon. Soon after the voyage starts Philip figures out that his uncle is a slave trader and they are on their way to Africa to pick up a load of slaves. This 232 page book shows the harsh cruelty of the slave trade, the callous attitude of the white people toward their cargo and the terrible realities of life on a slave ship. The slaves on the ship begin to respect Philip, thinking he will save them from this horrible misery. There are historical notes at the end of the book in which the author describes how Philip is based a compilation of several true historical figures. While this is not a very long book, it is vivid, yet not overly so, in its depiction of the harsh realities of the slave trade.. an interesting contrast to Fox's "Slave Dancer."


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