Saga boy : my life of blackness and becoming

Publication Type:



Toronto : Penguin Canada, Canada, p.352 pages (2021)



Call Number:



<p><span>"An enthralling, deeply personal examination of the search for a home and the long-lasting effects of colonialism. "The Queen designed my brain. Everyone I knew as a child was born in a time when Trinidad was her property. With no right to vote or make their own laws, they were all perfect British subjects in training. This meant Anglican hymns, little schoolboy uniforms and the single greatest sanitizer of our savagery--the King James Bible" This is how Antonio Michael Downing starts his arresting memoir of creativity and transformation, Becoming John Orpheus. Raised by his indomitable grandmother in a hot, verdant Trinidad, Antonio at age 11 is uprooted to Canada when she dies. But not urban Toronto: he and his older brother are sent to live with his stern evangelical Aunt Joan, in Waubigoon, a mostly Indigenous community in northern Ontario. In this wilderness, he begins his journey as an immigrant minority, using music and performance to dramatically transform himself. The book is a startling mash-up of memories, lyrics and mythology told in gripping, lyrical prose. His saga takes him to New York, where he discovers soul and hip-hop, to Toronto, where he performs with such musicians as Danny Michel, to Manchester, where he will begin his European musical tours with Liam Gallagher of Oasis. He and his artistic collaborator Gada Jane create the gold-chain laden, sequin and leather clad rock star "John Orpheus." While abroad, Downing receives word that a fire has destroyed his Toronto home and belongings. He feels liberated, free to create his new self. Richly evocative, Saga Boy is a heart wrenching but uplifting story of a lonely immigrant boy who overcomes adversity, trauma, and abandonment through music, performance, and writing."</span></p>