Ishmael Reed’s parody of slave narratives—the classical literature of the African American tradition—which redefined the neo-slave genre and launched a lucrative academic industry
Some parodies are as necessary as the books they answer. Such is the case with Flight to Canada, Ishmael Reed’s scathing, offbeat response to conventional anti-slavery novels such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Though Flight to Canada has been classified by some as a “post race” novel, the villains and the heroes are clear. Three slaves are on the run from the Swille plantation. Among them, the most hotly pursued is Raven Quickskill, a poet who seeks freedom in Canada, and ultimately hopes to return and liberate others. But this particular Civil War–era landscape is littered with modern elements, from Xerox copiers to airplanes, and freely reimagines historic figures as sacred as Abraham Lincoln. A comedy flashing with insight, Flight to Canada poses serious questions about history and the complex ways that race relations in America are shaped by the past. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Ishmael Reed including rare images of the author.