by Margaret Wrinkle


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Wash by Margaret Wrinkle

In this luminous debut, Margaret Wrinkle takes us on an unforgettable journey across continents and through time, from the burgeoning American South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul. Wash introduces a remarkable new voice in American literature.

In early 1800s Tennessee, two men find themselves locked in an intimate power struggle. Richardson, a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, has spent his life fighting not only for his country but also for wealth and status. When the pressures of westward expansion and debt threaten to destroy everything he’s built, he sets Washington, a young man he owns, to work as his breeding sire. Wash, the first member of his family to be born into slavery, struggles to hold onto his only solace: the spirituality inherited from his shamanic mother. As he navigates the treacherous currents of his position, despair and disease lead him to a potent healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop while she inspires him to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it. Once Richardson and Wash find themselves at a crossroads, all three lives are pushed to the brink.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802120663
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Margaret Wrinkle is a writer, filmmaker, educator, and visual artist. Her award-winning documentary, broken\ground , about the racial divide in her historically conflicted hometown, was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and was a winner of the Council on Foundations Film Festival.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"[An] unflinching, stunningly imagined debut." —Vanity Fair

"In this deeply researched, deeply felt debut novel, documentarian Wrinkle aims a sure pen at a crucial moment following America’s War of Independence. . . . The novel well evokes the tragedy not only of [its] lovers’ untenable positions, but also that of their master and his fragile country." —Publishers Weekly

"Heart-rending . . . Wrinkle has written a remarkable first novel, one that will haunt readers with the questions it raises, and the disturbing glimpse it offers into an unfathomable world." —Booklist

"Wrinkle bears witness to the inhumanity of slavery . . . A moving and heart-rending novel." —Kirkus Reviews

"Wrinkle masterfully takes us on a powerful journey through the darkest past and present of this country, boldly addressing the chasm of racial divide with the scalpel of a gruesome truth. Wash is the epitome of courage and determination to heal the central wound of this culture." —Malidoma Patrice Somé, author of The Healing Wisdom of Africa

"Wash is bold, unflinching, and when finished, certain to haunt the reader for a long, long time." —Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove

"Boldly conceived and brilliantly written, Margaret Wrinkle's Wash reveals the horrible human predation of slavery and its nest of nightmares. With a truthfulness even beyond Faulkner, Wrinkle makes her novelistic debut in a monumental work of unflinching imagination." —Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, Abundance, and Adam and Eve

"Margaret Wrinkle’s Wash is a marvelous window into the world of nineteenth century American slavery—a powerful fusion of knowledge and imagination." —Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls Rising, Master of the Crossroads, and The Stone that the Builder Refused

"A significant and hugely troubling book." —Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy, Town Smokes, The Wrecking Yard, and Dogs of God

"This majestic, beautifully-written novel will both break your heart and make it wiser." —Charles Gaines, author of Stay Hungry, Pumping Iron, A Family Place, and The Next Valley Over

"This exquisite novel is a gift of healing. It exposes the dark and fearsome sin that stains our history, and confronts the guilt that lurks in our collective American soul. But in the genius of the telling we are led to the tenderness at the bone, the humanity at the core, and buoyed by joy." —Beverly Swerling, author of Bristol House

"A unique and powerful story, Wash tells a chapter of our past that we would rather look away from. Margaret Wrinkle makes sure that we cannot. Her whole life has led up to this book, and she writes it in a sure and captivating voice, augmented by her remarkable pictures." —Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row, Dreamland, and Paradise Alley

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Wash 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
By: Margaret Wrinkle Published By Atlantic Monthly Press Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Book Blog For: GMTA Review: "Wash" by Margaret Wrinkle was a well written novel of 'personal stories of two people: Wash (slave) and Richardson's (Wash's owner).' Once I picked it up I wasn't able to put down because it was one was really very fascinating read about slavery from this point of view that kept me very interested. I found the characters very well developed and interesting. This was a interesting read that in the 1800's where the buying and selling of slaves in western territories were illegal and this is where we find that Wash has been hired out by his owner to 'breed.' I did find the 'breeding' practices somewhat very cruel. With me be a Afro American some of this was very hard for me especially some of the violence in this novel. However, this was well written and if you are looking for a book with some history, life of slaves then you have come to the right place for "Wash" will give it to you and yes I would recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although the subject matter is painful at times, the reader must realize it's part of the story. The writing is breath-takingly beautiful; I was entranced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got through 13 pages about slave breeding ro raise money- not my kind of book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MiamiKel More than 1 year ago
What an incredible step into the history of our country in the times of slavery, retribution, and ultimately, humanity.   This book was, at times, unbelievably difficult to read.  It happened, yes - many books before this one have told us so ~  but Ms. Wrinkle's contribution in powerful prose brings it to life. From wielding the branding iron and hearing it's impact on skin, to the powerful connection of compassionate owners, deception, redemption, and love found in rarest forms ,it tells us clearly that the human race goes on in spite of it's tragedies and injustices.  I simply could NOT put this book down.  My heart bled for Wash (Washington) and "his story" as it unfolded, told in the form of the main characters intwined.  Each 'chapter' of the book switches from character to character, telling it in sequential order to give it life. Absolutely PHENOMINAL read, perhaps the very best read of the year 2013! 5 stars, earned hands-down.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book on the human spirit's abilty to thrive under the most difficult circomstances. This book provides a glimpse into slavery in America. Providing views from both slave and slave holder. A must read !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NookGirl83 More than 1 year ago
A great story about how we are all connected, and while we may be a slave or freeman, we have our stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story left me sad, surprised, and with a better understanding of slavery and the slave owner's need to solve his economic problems at the horrific cost to his slaves. I had never thought of an owner making a slave produce children for his economic stability, nor the impact on so many. I found it interesting to learn about these three people and their world of master/slave and the repurcussions. Interesting read for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a special book.....A compelling story, memorable characters, and written in a poetic style that will capture your heart and emotions and pull you into the story.....It made me smile, tearful, and most of all thoughtful....An amazing first book from an thrilling and exciting talent...... 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MontanaMari More than 1 year ago
Wash was a heart touching story of slavery. It was a bit confusing at times, but the character of Wash was strong and vivid. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this beautifully written book. It tells a tragic story about slavory but also how we are all connected.