Colson Whitehead is anything but predictable. For his last four books, he's written about growing up in the '80s, a zombie apocalypse, the high-stakes world of competitive poker, and now, the Underground Railroad.
"Just from book to book, I try to mix it up, have different kinds of narrators telling different kinds of stories," Whitehead told MPR News host Kerri Miller at Talking Volumes. "I'm on a very odd streak."
His newest novel, "The Underground Railroad," adds a twist to U.S. history. Whitehead reimagines the string of locations where slaves hid as they moved north as an actual railroad, running beneath the earth and ferrying slaves from station to station to freedom.
The book could not have had a more enthusiastic reception. Published in August, it's a finalist for the National Book Award, and was named a must-read by both Oprah Winfrey and President Obama.
Whitehead laughed off the book's success with Miller.
"Unfortunately it's too late to become a lawyer or a vet or something useful," he said. "So I'll just keep writing."
For the full interview with Colson Whitehead, use the audio player above.