What We All Long for

Dionne Brand (Author)


Gripping at times, heartrending at others, What We All Long For is an ode to a generation of longing and identity, and to the rhythms and pulses of a city and its burgeoning, questioning youth.

Dionne Brand's multicultural infusion follows the stories of a close circle of twenty-something second-generations living in downtown Toronto--and the secrets they hide from their families.

Tuyen is a lesbian avant-garde artist and the daughter of Vietnamese parents who've never recovered from losing one of their children while in the rush to flee Vietnam in the 1970s. She rejects her immigrant family's hard-won lifestyle, and instead lives in a rundown apartment with friends--each of whom is grappling with their own familial complexities and heartache.

Tuyen is love with her best friend Carla, a biracial bicycle courier. Oku is a jazz-loving poet who, unbeknowst to his Jamaican-born parents, has dropped out of college. He is tormented by his unrequited love for Jackie, a gorgeous black woman who runs a hiphop clothing store.

Meanwhile, Tuyen's lost brother, Quy--now a criminal in the Thai underworld--sets out for Toronto to find his long-lost family.

Gripping at times, heart-wrenching at others, Dionne Brand's What We all Long For is a story of identity, love and loss--the universal experience of being human, and discovering the nature of our longing.

Product Details

$22.99  $20.69
St. Martins Press-3PL
Publish Date
November 25, 2008
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.5 inches | 0.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

As a young girl growing up in Trinidad, DIONNE BRAND submitted poems to the newspapers under the pseudonym Xavier Simone, an homage to Nina Simone. She moved to Canada at age 17 and earned a degree in Philosophy and English, a Masters in the Philosophy of Education, and pursued PhD studies in Women's History but left the program to make time for creative writing.

Brand won the Governor General's Award for poetry and the Trillium Award in 1997 for Land to Light On. In 2003 she won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry for her book thirsty. Her novels include In Another Place, Not Here and At the Full and Change of the Moon. She lives in Toronto.


"Superb . . . Brand's best novel yet." --National Post

"Brand . . . translates our desires and experiences into a language, an art that allows [her] to voice that which we live, but could not utter or bring to voice until she did so for us." --The Globe and Mail

"Brand's most accomplished novel yet. . . . both credible and incredible." --Quill & Quire

"Brand is quite subtle and nuanced in her analysis of her characters." --Toronto Star

..".a wonderfully layered and polyphonic novel...[Brand's] writing enfolds a generosity or openness that enables it to transcend its 'artifice.' These qualities are on display in abundance in this moving novel of how families, histories and geographies shape the nature of dreams." --Vue Weekly (Edmonton)

"What We All Long For is a watershed novel." --National Post

"Brand's text is gifted with unavoidable questions of what partnership means." --Herizons