Ishmael Reed

Flight to Canada
  • Flight to Canada

  • 'Reinvents the particulars of slavery in America with a comic rage ... The book explodes. Reed's special grace is anger ... a muscular, luminous prose' The New York Times

    'It always was, and will always be the most fearlessly original, most viciously political, most rambunctiously funny epic of slavery ever written. America almost doesn't deserve it' - Marlon James (2015 Man Booker Prize Winner)

    'I loves it here ... We gets whipped with a velvet whip, and there's free dentalcare'

    Three slaves are on the run in the deep South, with their former master hot on their heels and the Civil War raging.

    One of them arms himself for a final showdown; one sells his body for pornographic movies; while the last, Raven Quickskill - hero, poet, heartbreaker - swigs champagne on a non-stop jumbo jet to Canada. Taking us on a wild ride through a nineteenth century littered with limousines, waterbeds and colour TVs, Flight to Canada is a surreal, madly funny satire on race in America.

    'A satirical "neo-slave narrative", the novel wittily conjoins the past of slavery to the present of America's bicentennial' New York Review of Books

Novelist, poet, playwright, songwriter, essayist, activist and MacArthur genius, Ishmael Reed has been a major figure in American letters for the past four decades. His ground-breaking literary output has inspired generations of artists and writers - from Thomas Pynchon, Paul Beatty, and Colson Whitehead, to 2pac, George Clinton and David Murray - and he is widely recognized as one of the great American writers. Reed was born in 1938. He grew up in working-class neighbourhoods in Buffalo, New York, attended Buffalo public schools, and the University of Buffalo. He taught at Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and, for thirty-five years, at the University of California Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, California, where he teaches at the California College of the Arts.