Any Known Blood: A Novel

Any Known Blood: A Novel

by Lawrence Hill
     
 

Spanning five generations, sweeping across a century and a half of almost unknown history, this acclaimed and unexpectedly funny novel is the story of a man seeking himself in the mirror of his family's past.

There were Canes in Canada before the United States erupted into civil war. Their roots are deep, their legacy is rich, but Langston Cane V knows little of

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Overview

Spanning five generations, sweeping across a century and a half of almost unknown history, this acclaimed and unexpectedly funny novel is the story of a man seeking himself in the mirror of his family's past.

There were Canes in Canada before the United States erupted into civil war. Their roots are deep, their legacy is rich, but Langston Cane V knows little of his heritage. He is thirty-eight, divorced, and childless and has just been fired for sabotaging a government official's speech. The eldest son of a white mother and prominent black father, Langston feels more acutely than ever the burden of his illustrious family name and his racially mixed heritage. To be black in a white society is hard enough; to be half-black, half-white is to have no identity at all. Or so Langston believes. After a run-in with his father, Langston takes off for his feisty aunt's house in Baltimore, where he embarks on a remarkable quest for his family's past.

It's said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, but to Langston, history offers not condemnation but reprieve. For when he stumbles across a treasure trove of family documents, he sets off on a journey through time that will lead him back to the famous antislavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and the great-great-grandfather who fought beside John Brown. He rediscovers the long line of relatives who have battled for racial justice, decade after decade. He finds passion, dignity, and courage—and, at last, by unearthing and giving voice to those who came before him, he finds himself.

Rich in historical detail and gracefully flowing from the slave trade of nineteenth-century Virginia to the present, Any Known Blood gives life to a story never before told, a story of five generations of a black Canadian family whose tragedies and victories merge with the American experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Andy Solomon
Hill's affable narrative voice, spiced with wit and humor, makes Cane's quest a delightful one....within Any Known Blood are at least five more stories dying to be told.
The New York Times Book Review
Andy Solomon
Hill's affable narrative voice, spiced with wit and humor, makes Cane's quest a delightful one....within Any Known Blood are at least five more stories dying to be told.
The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688162085
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/01/1999
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
5.89(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.73(d)

What People are saying about this

Austin Clarke
Lawrence Hill is on to something new; a literary examination of psyche and bones and flesh. History and the imagination of this young author surge vibrantly to define, over generations, the true meaning of life.Any Known Blood becomes more than a history of lives that might normally be lost, and is instead its new interpretation.

Meet the Author

Lawrence Hill is the author of Some Great Thing, his widely praised first novel, as well as Women of Vision: The Story of the Canadian Negro Women's Association and Trials and Triumphs: The Story of African-Canadians, a children's history book. He lives in Oakville, Ontario.

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