Books·Canadian

Any Known Blood

Lawrence Hill's book follows five generations of an African-Canadian-American family, tracing their history from the slave trade of 19th-century Virginia to the predominantly white suburbs of Oakville, Ontario.

Lawrence Hill

Langston Cane V is 38, divorced and working as a government speechwriter, until he's fired for sabotaging the minister's speech. It seems the perfect time for Langston, the son of a white mother and prominent black father, to embark on a quest for his family's past — and his own sense of self.

Any Known Blood follows five generations of an African-Canadian-American family in a compelling story that slips effortlessly from the slave trade of 19th-century Virginia to the modern, predominantly white suburbs of Oakville, Ontario — once a final stop on the Underground Railroad. By turns elegant and sensuous, wry and witty, Any Known Blood is an engrossing tale about one man's attempt to find himself through unearthing and giving voice to those who came before him. (From HarperCollins)

From the book

I have the rare distinction — a distinction that weighs like a wet life jacket, but that I sometimes float to great advantage — of not appearing to belong to any particular race, but of seeming like a contender for many.

In Spain, people have wondered if I was French. In France, hotel managers asked if I was Moroccan. In Canada, I've been asked — always tentatively — if I was perhaps Peruvian, American, or Jamaican. But I have rarely given a truthful rendering of my origins.


From Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill, ©1997. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.