Middle Passage

Middle Passage

A Scribner Classics edition of Charles Johnson’s masterpiece, winner of the National Book Award—“a novel in the tradition of Billy Budd and Moby-Dick…heroic in proportion…fiction that hooks the mind” (The New York Times Book Review).

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.

Peopled with vivid and unforgettable characters, nimble in its interplay of comedy and serious ideas, this dazzling modern classic is a perfect blend of the picaresque tale, historical romance, sea yarn, slave narrative, and philosophical novel.
  • Scribner | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501110528 | 
  • July 2015
List Price $25.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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Articles About This Book

Off the shelf vertical blog post

Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Mark Sarvas

I was introduced to Charles Johnson’s novels by my writing teacher, Steven Corbin, who insisted I drop everything and read Middle Passage, which had recently won the National Book Award for fiction. I fell hard for the novel, swept away by the...

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About the Author

Charles Johnson
Lynette Huffman-Johnson

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, and professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. A MacArthur fellow, his fiction includes Night HawksDr. King’s RefrigeratorDreamerFaith and the Good Thing, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle.

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