Rick's Reviews > Any Known Blood

Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill
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's review
Aug 02, 2011

it was amazing

Instantly one of my top ten books ever! A man looking for his heritage. Interesting to me since it takes place in Oakville, Toronto and Baltimore. Insightful and sometimes irreverent. For example:

Quotes from Any Known Blood, by Lawrence Hill, 1997, Harper Collins.

On a Greyhound bus to Toronto in the late 1940’s, a black man meets a white woman, about fifty, with gray hair and blue eyes.

Quote: “You’re a deep sleeper.” She said.

“I was meditating.” he said, grinning.

“Sure,” she said. “Since when do meditators snore?”

“Me? Snore? Never!”

“Mister, you snored until the cows came home and then you snored again.”

Langston smiled. He wondered if a white stranger had ever called him “mister” before.

“You’re an American, aren’t you?” she said.

“How’d you know?”

“I could tell. And it’s not ‘cause you’re a Negro, either, so don’t think I’m prejudiced. I could tell you were American because you’re friendly. You talk to people. Canadians don’t talk.”

“You’re talking. And I presume you’re Canadian. And it’s not ‘cause you’re white, either.”

“Very good.” she said.


Quote: Langston shouldered his army duffel bag and headed out on Dundas Street. He bought two hot dogs and asked the vendor, a boy of fifteen or so, where Pembroke Street was.

“Tell me slow.” Langston said. “I’m not from these parts.”

“Walk east on Dundas till you hit it.”

“Which way’s east?”

“The way that streetcar is going.”

“Much obliged.”

“You’re American, aren’t you?” the kid said.

“How’d you know?”

“Your accent. I can hear it clean through that hot dog. Also, you’re friendly. Canadians aren’t like that.”


Great insights on Canadian and American perspectives on each other, Negroes in society, the Underground Railroad and John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Very highly recommended.


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