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

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Synopsis

Winner of the National Book Award! 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 he learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role in 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 the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
 

About M.T. Anderson

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M.T. Anderson is the author of The Game of Sunken Places; the National Book Award-winning, Michael L. Printz Honor book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party; and the Michael L Printz Honor book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom of Waves, as well as Feed and Thirsty. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
Published December 21, 2010 by Candlewick. 370 pages
Genres: Young Adult, History, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1

Kirkus Reviews

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In the sequel to The Pox Party (2006), Octavian Nothing escapes the College of Lucidity and flees to British-controlled Boston, where he will swear fealty “to whoever offers emancipation with the greatest celerity.” When Lord Dunmore offers manumission to slaves joining the British counterrevolut...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Like many Africans, Octavian runs away, joining the Revolutionary army, which fights for “liberty,” while ironically never assuring slaves freedom.

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The New York Times

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Dressed in silks and expensive white wigs farmed from the heads of Prague pensioners, Octavian and his mother perform duets — Octavian plays the violin, his mother the harpsichord — and exchange syllogisms over dinner.

Nov 12 2006 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

The Bookbag

The book is also full of subtle references - that book of poems by the Negress refers to Phillis Wheatley, but I only knew about that because I'd just read a book about her.

Jan 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

The Bookbag

As the Wars of Independence loom ever closer - we are treated to a first hand description of the Battle of Bunker Hill and a second hand one of the Boston Tea Party, both fabulous - and the Novanglians find their patrons less generous, Octavian comes to understand the horrific extent to which bia...

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

Teen Reads

In some regards, Octavian becomes everything the College could have hoped for, but studying science and philosophy also makes Octavian into his own person with his own ideas, not all of which the College agrees with.

Sep 12 2006 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

Teen Reads

When Octavian hears that Lord Dunmore is raising a troop of African soldiers, he enlists with the British on the promise that he will earn his freedom by fighting for the Crown.Instead, Octavian learns that serving as a soldier is another kind of bondage, especially for the dark-skinned Royal Eth...

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Historical Novel Society

African-American youth Octavian escapes with his trusted tutor Doctor Trefusis from the eccentric Bostonian gentlemen who raised him as a comparative experiment between the European and African cultures.

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Chamber Four

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Jan 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

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In spite of these cruel truths (especially that Octavian and his mother are owned by the head of the college), Octavian and his mother are still treated well.

Jun 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Astonishing Life of Octav...

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