Wash by Margaret Wrinkle (Audio review)
Tennessee. Early 1800′s. James Richardson, a man who has fought his way to the top to build up his own wealth and status finds himself looking for some strong male slaves to help him keep up with his ever-growing property. He is surprised when his eyes fall on a proud looking woman slave, although Richardson is not in the market for female help, he finds himself purchasing her, Mena, anyway, almost before he realizes what he is doing.
Richardson puts Mena to work minding his kitchen and as time passes he realizes she is pregnant with child. What a bargain Richardson had for purchasing a pregnant slave. Soon, Mena gives birth to Wash. As Wash grows into a man, he holds the same strong confident will that his mother does. When Wash is a young man, Richardson, who is struggling financially, notices how the female slaves watch Wash. Richardson gathers his neighbors and offers Wash as a stud service (for a small fee) to go to their properties and lay with their women to create babies that will grow up to be strong like Wash which is of course, more slaves for the lot of them.
And so it begins.
Told in the alternating voices of Wash, Richardson, Thompson, Thompsons son Eli, and Pallas who is the woman who Wash really wants to be with.
When I read the synopsis of Wash I was thrilled with the story line. I had never thought of slaves breeding slaves (I don’t know why – I am sure now that it must have happened) but it felt to me both repulsive and brilliant on the landowners part. I mean that in no disrespect – but instead setting myself in the time period in which this story unfolds.
Wash is incredibly likeable. I pictures him as strong and quiet but knows how to hold his own and protect his own when he has too. Wash’s mother taught his right and as he grows he is able to get a better understanding to the messages she had given him in his younger years.
Narrated by a cast of different voices this audio plays our nicely as each voice is its own. There are times the multiple narrator-ed books are not appealing to me but this one flows nicely. Each time a chapter changed perspectives of who was talking I looked forward to hearing their part of the story.
As a whole, Wash is a powerful and captivating read. I found his situation unfathomable and yet I had to know his story… how do you love one, but be with another because you have to – sent out to stud much like a horse….
Wash is truly worth your time.