Like no poetry you've ever known before, Fred D'Aguiar's novel-in-verse sweeps you up in the scintillating story of a young female slave who falls in love with the son of the plantation owner and runs away with him in search of a new life.
En route they are rescued by an old man who has organised a secret underground railroad to help slaves escape, but they become separated from each other: Faith, the woman, is sold back into slavery and Christy, her lover, punished with forced labour.
The novel is narrated by their son who is stuck in time until their story is told. Using the intricate rhyme-scheme of Byron's wonderfully picaresque Don Juan, D'Aguiar wittily plays with language to create poetry that is dazzling in its inventiveness whilst being utterly readable.
Despite the seriousness of its subject matter, Bloodlines is full of humour, satire, experiment and, above all, life.
Its characters are, like the language, brim-full of energy and very sympathetic as they struggle against vicissitude.
Read this book fast like a novel, savour every word like a poem, do both, the choice is yours.