Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming


Product Details

$25.00  $23.25
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.06 X 1.18 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Antonio Michael Downing is the author of Saga Boy. He grew up in southern Trinidad, northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener. He is a musician, writer, and activist based in Toronto. His debut novel, Molasses, was published to critical acclaim. In 2017, he was named by the RBC Taylor Prize as one of Canada's top emerging authors for nonfiction. He performs and composes music as John Orpheus.


"Singularly dazzling, Saga Boy is a brilliant collage of the twenty-first century's most incredible memoirs. Told with an unforgettable and innovative pace, this a book I will reread forever."--Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

"A vibrant, evocative, and searing account of the lives of Black immigrants. Downing helps us understand the rage and resilience of Black boys--motherless, fatherless, itinerant--and the communities that intervene to raise them. The triumph of Saga Boy is the triumph of Blackness everywhere--the irrepressible instinct for survival in a world where Blacks are prey."--Ian Williams, Giller Prize-winning author of Reproduction

"An emotionally captivating, heartbreaking read on one man's journey to understand who he is, where he comes from and where he belongs. From being the only Black family in Wabigoon to moving transformatively through the music scene in the city, Saga Boy makes us all question the strength of the ties that bind and where our future lies."--Tanya Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers and All Our Relations

"Downing transports readers to the steamy, scented jungle of Trinidad where he lived with his grandmother as a child. Miss Excelly stands with ramrod dignity, glories in the Lord's love, and jumps off the page with her strength, her joy, and her suffering. As Faulkner created the powerful Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury, Downing has created Miss Excelly. A story of resilience and character, Saga Boy is bound to become a Canadian classic."--Catherine Gildiner, author of Good Morning, Monster and Too Close to the Falls

"In Saga Boy, Downing offers expertise and experience, intellect and intimacy; this is a book that names the griefs and violences of colonialism and insists on the tentacular ways they reach into all facets of being. It is also a book about kinship, pleasure, celebration, and love. Saga Boy is the story of a remarkable life, one both relatable and not, told with intricacy. It charts the ways space and time shape people into many, discernible persons within a lifetime. Truly unforgettable."--Jenny Heijun Wills, author of Older Sister, Not Necessarily Related

"Downing seamlessly blends poetic images, music, and storytelling to create a poignant and stunningly honest memoir of a young man's adamant determination to navigate his position and find himself despite the boundaries of colonialism, racism, and the endless sense of disbelonging."--Lamees al Ethari, author of Waiting for the Rain: An Iraqi Memoir and From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris