The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)Read about the other entries on the list.
And let’s close with a current novel, which won the National Book Award in the US and has been published to favourable reviews in the UK. You might say it is one long escape saga, as slaves in the American south attempt to make their way to freedom in the north at great risk. (The tunnels under the Berlin Wall that I wrote about in my book were often referred to as a kind of underground railroad.) This may sound like academic nonfiction, but Whitehead brilliantly introduces the fantasy of actual underground trains ferrying people to the north. “Two steel rails ran the visible length of the tunnel,” Whitehead writes, “pinned into the dirt by wooden crossties. The steel ran south and north presumably, springing from some inconceivable source and shooting toward a miraculous terminus.”
The Underground Railroad was on President Obama's summer 2016 reading list.