Writing in the New York Times, Orville Prescott called the novel a 'Jewish Pilgrim's Progress', in which the hero keeps his faith despite all setbacks. Prescott liked the pacy, eventful plot but criticised the way the characters were portrayed as symbols rather than human beings.
Rafael Broch notes how the purity of the rural scene and of the hero's faith contrast with the vulgarity of the 'lewd peasants and prejudiced landowners'. Broch calls this a Romeo and Juliet tale in 'circumstances even less permissive'.
For Ted Hughes the book is 'burningly radiant, intensely beautiful'.
In a 1971 interview, Bob Dylan said of The Slave: “It must have stayed in my head for months afterward.”