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Flight to Canada Paperback – June 2, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ishmael Reed grew up in working-class neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York. He attended Buffalo public schools and the University of Buffalo. As well as being a novelist, poet, and essayist, he is a songwriter, television producer, publisher, magazine editor, playwright, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and There City Cinema, both located in Northern California. He lives in Oakland, California. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (June 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684847507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684847504
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ah poor Ishmael Reed! Doubly overlooked because he's a truly literate African-American writer AND more so because he's a postmodernist.
This outrageously wonderful book manages to dissect and skewer both America's past and present with an off-beat sense of purpose. Merely my second foray into Reed's body of work, he's rapidly climbing up my All Time Favourite Author list. I suppose this won't appeal to everyone in the John Grishman/E. Lyn Harris/Harry Potter set, but Flight to Canada does what great art should - challenge the beholder.
Reed tackles everything from the Civil War, Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the grand ol' south, the nature of slavery and slaves and demands the reader to push aside common held beliefs and take a fresh look at this much-studied (and much-rehashed) juncture of American History.
Bottom line - a hip and funny read that'll make you think. What more d'ya need?
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Format: Paperback
With unarmed black men being shot in the back by white cops on an almost daily basis in this country, I needed some psychological balm, some distancing, some art to express the insanity. Paul Beatty's brilliant "The Sellout" provided up-to-the minute topicality and an appropriately withering scorn to encapsulate the outrage. But I recalled Ishmael Reed, a time forty years ago when I tried "The Free-Lance Pallbearers" and didn't know what to make of it. Was I a more receptive reader now? Would Reed have anything to say to our current, appalling state of affairs?
The answer, at least in "Flight to Canada," was a resounding yes. In fact this novel, though shorter, may say more with less than Beatty's. Reed uses more flamboyant literary devices: conflating centuries is wild fun but also makes the institution of slavery seem even more bizarre and unconscionable than it would otherwise. Reed knows the minutae of history and sprinkles the novel with unlikely but accurate Civil War facts that fit in well with scenarios that include Greyhound Bus trips and television. Reed teases us with parallels: a slaveholder's son making an anthropological trip to Africa parallels Nelson Rockefeller's, Lincoln's assassination finds parallels in JFK's. The figure of old Abe, in fact, emerges as far less than heroic, but Jefferson Davis doesn't fare too well, either. If Reed expected his reader to see how the outrages of history blend so well with purely outlandish literary concoctions, he has succeeded with me. And moving the concept of one man owning another into relatively modern times (the 70s), or at least with modern references, as I said, brings home the real freakishness of the idea as nothing else could.
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Shipping was quick. The book is in great condition. If you haven't, I recommend: a wonderful read. Who knew slave narratives could be so amusing? Reed addresses the malleability of history as well as exploring common caricatures who have emerged out of the rubble of slavery and Jim Crow. He turns history upside down and embraces anachronism. He reminds us of the absurdity of racial difference but also the frightening realization that in some aspects, little has changed. Come for the history, stay for the comparison of the slave master Swille to the Marquis de Sade. Reed jabs at the women's movement, politics, sexualization of the "Other," and miscegenation. A must read in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback
this work is one of the most brilliant books i have ever read. I have read kafka, dostoyevsky, hesse and dick among others. This book is playfully original and comical at the same time. Ishmael
Reed has taught me more about the civil war that anyone else has.
the blurring of fact and fiction was not confusing at all. The characters were alive and believable. I thought his depiction of the period was right on in a comical way. this is a book all african americans who appreciate literature should read. what a writer. I love raven quickskill!!![.]
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Format: Paperback
I'm on a Baba Ishmael kick. He does an excellent job of making fun of America's pretentions and racist climate.
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