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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation : Volume 1, the Pox Party
by M. T. Anderson


Overview - Now in paperback, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers -- but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them.
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More About The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson
 
 
 
Overview

Now in paperback, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers -- but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson s mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
"Anderson s imaginative and highly intelligent exploration of . . . the ambiguous history of America s origins will leave readers impatient for the sequel." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780763636791
  • ISBN-10: 0763636797
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
  • Publish Date: January 2008
  • Page Count: 353
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP

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Series: Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing #1
 
BookPage Reviews

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation

Set during the Revolutionary War, this inventive coming-of-age novel examines issues of class and race though the story of Octavian, a young black boy. Octavian grows up in Boston, in the home of a group of unconventional philosophers and scientists. Along with his mother, Octavian lives a life of seclusion, although he is treated well and receives a first-class education. Once Octavian becomes a teenager, however, he realizes that something is amiss. As it turns out, he and his mother are being used as part of an experiment. The scientists and philosophers who surround him are trying to evaluate the mental capacity of Africans. When his mother dies as a result of the experiment, Octavian runs away. He joins the Patriots in their campaign against the British, but is soon captured and returned to his old home. Back in captivity, he is tied up and forced to wear an iron mask, until one of the philosophers takes pity on him and helps him escape again. Written in the style of an 18th-century novel, this skillfully crafted book—winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature—concludes with Octavian's escape. Anderson has created a complex yet highly readable narrative, a beautifully written book with wonderfully inventive plot twists that will appeal to adult readers as well as inquisitive teenagers. A reading group guide is available at candlewick.com.

 
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