Just start your engine. Go.
Carl Black is an intellectual and an artist, a traveller and an unapologetic womanizer. A motorcyclist. He burns for the bohemian life, but is trapped in a railway worker’s prosaic—and at times humiliating—existence. Set in 1959 in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia, the novel vividly recounts Carl’s travels and romantic exploits as he tours the backroads of the East Coast and courts a bevy of beautiful women. The Motorcyclist is a portrait of a black working-class man caught between the expectations of his time and the gleaming possibilities of the open road.
In vibrant, energetic, sensual prose, George Elliott Clarke brilliantly illuminates the life of a young black man striving for pleasure, success and, most of all, respect.
About the author
George Elliott Clarke is a Canadian poet and playwright. Born in Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia, he has spent much of his career writing about the Black communities of Nova Scotia and served for a time in the African-American Studies department at Duke University. He earned a BA Honours degree in English from the University of Waterloo (1984), an MA in English from Dalhousie University (1989), and a PhD in English from Queenâ??s University (1993). In addition, he has received honorary degrees from Dalhousie University (LLD), the University of New Brunswick (LittD), the University of Alberta (LittD), and the University of Waterloo (LittD). He is currently professor of English at the University of Toronto.
In 2001 he won the Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award for poetry for his book Execution Poems. Clarkeâ??s work largely explores and chronicles the experience and history of the black Canadian community of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, creating a cultural geography that Clarke often refers to as Africadia. Clarkeâ??s Whylah Falls was one of the selected books in the 2002 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by Nalo Hopkinson.
“This ribald, raw, road-movie of a novel is an object lesson in how to combine the political with the personal.”
Quill & Quire
“The prose flows like music and will have you dreaming about the romance of the road and the heat between a man and a woman.”
“The Motorcyclist, functions as a quintessential Canadian novel, to be consumed by Canadians of all stripes while it drives home hard truths on what it meant - and still often means - to zoom along life’s path as a person of colour in contemporary Canada.”
“Rich, dense and syntactically serpentine.”
The Globe and Mail
“Black is easily one of the most compelling, dynamic and conflicting characters in recent Canadian fiction. . . . [W]ith The Motorcyclist, Clarke has rendered not just an entire world, but also an entire man, flawed and unforgettable.”
“A captivating work that is, not surprisingly, poetic in language and intent.”
Other titles by George Elliott Clarke
Blacks in Canada
The Quest for a 'National' Nationalism
E.J. Pratt’s Epic Ambition, ‘Race’ Consciousness, and the Contradictions of Canadian Identity
I Am Still Your Negro
An Homage to James Baldwin
A Portrait in Words
Writers on Writing in Canada
J. J. Steinfeld
Essays on His Works
The Merchant of Venice (Retried)