For September, we will be reading the Pultizer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead is also the honoree of this year's Brooklyn Book Festival, which takes place this month.

This novel asks the question: What if the Underground Railroad were a real railroad? Whitehead constructs a gritty reality around this premise, following the escaped slave Cora through a journey of many stages, all with slave catcher Ridgeway on her heels.

The publisher writes, "Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share."