Ta-nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer presents a great story of the injustices of slavery, painting a picture of the obstacles and hardships that slaves faced in a quest for freedom. The story takes place during the Antebellum Era in America in Virginia. Hiram, its main character who lives on the Lockless estate, is a child born into slavery and separated from his mother an early age.
As the story begins, he is already separated from his mother and she is only a minute part of his memory which he recalls as a beautiful woman who water dances. Throughout his youth, Hiram possesses a special gift that he doesn’t fully understand, but others regard him as a brilliant child. He is, therefore, treated less harshly than other slaves and is welcomed into the big house to serve in a more dignified capacity. Without revealing too much of the plot, I’ll say that the plot begins to thicken as Hiram grows into a young man and becomes a conductor on the Underground Railroad where we are invited into the most painful parts of the world of slavery. It is here, that Hiram begins to understand the powers that he possesses and begins to channel the memory of his mother as he risks it all for the freedom of others.
This story is filled with superb realism intertwined with some fantasy to create a rich and heartfelt story. The Water Dancer is well-written and has an engaging plot that a lot of important themes about love, injustice, and freedom. You will not be disappointed by this book.