Thoughts on books: There are plenty of wonderful aspects of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s novel The Water Dancer, but let me start with my favorite, the depth and breadth of the characters, particularly the main character, Hiram. Coates gives Hiram the whole spectrum of emotions and confusions while starting him out without an unrealistic basket of wisdom and layering knowledge and understanding onto his character as he learns, experiences, and grows. The story is about slavery, but Coates has Hiram call it “the task,” in the first chapters of the novel so that we can focus on the individuals and their stories and have revealed the huge and horrific institution looming over all else one breath at a time. Coates expertly weaves together the characters, the story, and the repellent history.
I recommend this novel for adults and only the most sophisticated upper level high school readers because there is quite a bit of long slow discussion and detail. For younger or less advanced readers, stick with Copper Sun or the like.