Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Interviews, Recommendations, and More

Esi Edugyan on Dreaming of Elsewhere

We are pleased to grant you a sneak preview of this new book by the winner of the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Esi Edugyan.

Writing about belonging is not a simple task. In her new book, Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home, Esi Edugyan chooses to intertwine fact and fiction, objective and subjective in an effort to find out if one can belong to more than one place, if home is just a place or if it can be an idea, a person, a memory, or a dream. How “home” changes, how it changes us, and how every farewell carries the promise of a return. Readers of Canadian literature, armchair travellers, and all citizens of the global village will enjoy her explorations and reflections, as we follow her from Ghana to Germany, from Toronto to Budapest, from Paris to New York.

We are pleased to grant you a sneak preview of this new book by the winner of the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize.


Book Cover Dreaming of Elsewhere

"Not-belonging is so often rooted in difference that we forget, sometimes, that it can be rooted in similarities as well. I remember being in a large plaza of shops in Accra before our journey north to Kumasi. In the dusty, unpaved lot I saw, against the far stalls, two tall pale figures. They were blonde. Sewn into their backpacks were two tiny red maple leaves.“Look,” I said to my brother, and pointed.

After just three days in Ghana, a glimpse of white skin—so much a part of my home landscape, a part of what I had always known in the world I came out of—could startle me...

I, who had lived so much of my life looking elsewhere, was slowly coming to acknowledge that not-belonging, also, can be a kind of belonging. There are all sorts of nations on this earth. It is a lonelier citizenship, perhaps, but a vast one."

Excerpted from Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home by Esi Edugyan, with a foreword by Marina Endicott (University of Alberta Press, 2014), with permission of the publisher. 


See also:

  • Baggage
    Jill Sooley's "Books for the Homesick Canadian": "There are countless of us, expat Canadians who have moved away to other nations to live out new chapters in their lives, but who still need a good Canadian fix from time to time. Sometimes it’s the subtle things—a reference to the currency, the RCMP, a description of a familiar town or a public figure—that will fill the void. I can tell you that after nearly 14 years in New York, nothing feels as good as a down-home story. The following are all good books that stand on their own, and required reading for anyone who has ever felt the pull of home."





  • House on Sugarbush Road
    Méira Cook's "Homesick Love": "The books that I have responded to most over the many years of 'reading myself Canadian' are those written by immigrants. Not necessarily diasporic writers but immigrants of the soul. Those who, like me, are always looking for a place to land. Those who circle writing like a runway. Those who touch down, take off."







  • Mr Hiroshi's Garden
    Julie Booker's Notes from a Children's Librarian column, "On Books about Displacement": "I read Mr. Hiroshi’s Garden, by Maxine Trottier, aloud to a group of nine-year-olds. As the final image settled, a boy quietly said, 'I want to cry.' The full-circle ending obviously did the trick. Set in British Columbia during World War II, this narrative connects a little girl with her Japanese neighbour who’s building a rock garden in his backyard. One day he and his family are taken away to an internment camp. (The Author’s Note at the back is useful in setting up the story.) This is the first of five stellar personal narratives which happen to share a theme of displacement. And, if the reader is paying attention, these are stories that teach kids how to write." 

Comments here

comments powered by Disqus

More from the Blog