A compelling, thrilling tale of love in slavery times.
When house-servant Abednego is sold away south, his broken-hearted field-hand lover Cyrus snaps and flees the estate on which he has lived his entire life. Leaving everything he knows behind him, and evading patrollers and dogs to head north and find freedom, in the midst of a dismal swamp Cyrus receives the revelation that Abednego is his true North Star, and, impossible though it seems, he determines to find and rescue his lost lover from slavery.
Ten years in the writing, NAACP Image Award nominee John R Gordon's Drapetomania is an epic and exciting tale of black freedom, uprising, and a radical representation of romantic love between black men in slavery times.
“We’ve seen the African-American slave narrative told from many perspectives, but in this groundbreaking novel, Gordon becomes the first to explore this experience through the eyes of a gay slave. The result is an all-out masterpiece. With this bold, painstakingly historicized effort, Gordon arguably makes a bid to join the ranks of some of the greatest writers of the African-American experience – Baldwin, Haley, Morrison, Walker. This book is just THAT good. It’s no easy task to write what feels like a classic American novel in the 21st century, but Gordon has done just that.”
- Patrik-Ian Polk (Blackbird; The Skinny; Noah’s Arc)
"John R Gordon’s novel, Drapetomania Or, The Narrative of Cyrus Tyler & Abednego Tyler, lovers is a riveting, masterful work. Set against the brutalizing, material captivity meant to break the soul, that came to define the chattel enslavement of Africans in the American south, “Drapetomania” tells the compelling story of two men whose love for each other reimagines the erotic contours of what was possible under the whip and scrutiny of catastrophic bondage. Here is a story of love so powerful, so achingly present, it dares to consider not just the past but the future, as vital to freedom; and in doing so, defies any notion of the black enslaved body as an ugly, unpalatable thing, unworthy of the sweetness of love. Gordon’s novel enters the company of such classic works as Edward P. Jones’s The Known World, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger. We will be reading and talking about this extraordinary novel for years to come."
- Alexis De Veaux, (author, Yabo and Sister Outsider: A Biography of Audre Lorde)