Boy What a Saga!
“In 1986, I landed in Canada, a shiny-faced black boy thrust into the tiny northwestern Ontario town of Wabigoon, near Dryden. From a jungle to a blizzard within a few head-spinning days, Wolf packs howled in the trees and black bears rummaged at the trash dump. My beloved grandma was dead, and eleven-year-old me stared, perplexed, into the wilderness.”
He and his older brother begin their life in Canada living with his stern, evangelical Aunt Joan, where they are the only black children in town. In this wilderness, he begins his journey as an immigrant minority, using music and performance to dramatically transform himself. At the heart of his odyssey is the longing for a home.
Downing tries to flee his messy family life by transforming into a series of extravagant musical personalities: "Mic Dainjah", a punk rock rapper, "Molasses", a soul music crooner and finally "John Orpheus", a gold chained, sequin- and leather-clad pop star backed by two leather clad female drummers playing the Toronto scene.
Saga Boy is a heart-wrenching but uplifting story of a lonely immigrant boy who overcomes adversity and abandonment to reclaim his black identity and embrace a rich heritage.
This is not Downing’s first book. His 2010 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 still performs and composes music as John Orpheus. His music can be heard in the new 10-part Netflix ballet thriller Tiny Pretty Things and a new album, like the Saga Boy book, is on the verge of being dropped!
Although the book won’t appear in stores until January 17th, it can be pre-ordered now on Amazon, here in Canada, the US and the Caribbean!