The Motorcyclist

George Elliott Clarke's novel was inspired by his father's life.

George Elliott Clarke

Carl Black is an intellectual and artist, a traveller, a reader and an unapologetic womanizer. A motorcyclist. He burns for the bohemian life, but is trapped in a railway porter's prosaic — at times humiliating — existence. Taking place over one dramatic year in Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Motorcyclist vividly recounts Carl's travels and romantic exploits as he tours the backroads of the East Coast and the bedrooms of a series of beautiful women. Inspired by the life of George Elliott Clarke's father, the novel tells the story of a black working-class man caught between the expectations of his times and gleaming possibilities of the open road. (From HarperCollins)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews 

From the book

Carl thrusts back bedclothes — a bristling surf — and leaps up, ascendant, urgent to start motorcycling afresh: to get from Easter to Christmas, astraddle. He dabs Brylcreem on his Negro curls; he slaps Snap on his hands, to scour off even invisible grit. Quick, he sheathes himself in black leather chic, from boots to jacket. The boots are so polished that sunlight, enmeshed in that dark dazzle, mirrors a solar eclipse.

From The Motorcyclist by George Elliott Clarke ©2016. Published by HarperCollins.

Author interviews

The prolific poet, playwright and fiction writer on his latest novel, which is based on his father's life. He also talks about his recent appointment as Canada's parliamentary poet laureate.
George Elliott Clarke's latest novel tells the story of Carl Black, a young black man living in Halifax in 1959. The novel was inspired by the diary of his late father. Matt Galloway spoke with him.
Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke is on a mission to make his role relevant to the average Canadian. more stories from this episode