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Fiction Contemporary Women

What We All Long For / Love Enough

Two Toronto Novels

by (author) Dionne Brand

Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Jan 2020
Contemporary Women, Family Life, Lesbian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2020
    List Price

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Together in a single volume, two beloved novels by one of our most celebrated and important writers.

Tuyen is an aspiring 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.
By turns thrilling and heartbreaking, Tuyen's lost brother—who has since become a criminal in the Thai underworld—journeys to Toronto to find his long-lost family. As Quy's arrival nears, tensions build, friendships are tested, and an unexpected encounter will forever alter the lives of Tuyen and her friends. 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. Winner of the Toronto Book Award.

In Love Enough, the sharp beauty of Brand's writing draws us effortlessly into the intersecting stories of her characters caught in the middle of choices, apprehensions, fears. Each of the tales here—June's, Bedri's, Da'uud's, Lia's opens a different window on the city they all live in, mostly in parallel, but occasionally, delicately, touching and crossing one another. Each story radiates other stories. In these pages, the urban landscape cannot be untangled from the emotional one; they mingle, shift and cleave to one another.
The young man Bedri experiences the terrible isolation brought about by an act of violence, while his father, Da'uud, casualty of a geopolitical conflict, driving a taxi, is witness to curious gestures of love and anger; Lia faces the sometimes unbridgeable chasms of family; and fierce June, ambivalent and passionate with her string of lovers, now in middle age discovers: "There is nothing universal or timeless about this love business. It is hard if you really want to do it right." At once lucid and dream-like, Love Enough is a profoundly modern work that speaks to the most fundamental questions of how we live now.

About the author


Dionne Brand is internationally known for her poetry, fiction, and essays. She has received many awards, notably the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Trillium Award (Land to Light On), 1997), the Pat Lowther Award (Thirsty, 2005), the City of Toronto Book Award (What We All Long For, 2006), and the Harbourfront Festival Award (2006), given in recognition of her substantial contribution to literature. She is a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.

Leslie C. Sanders is a professor at York University, where she teaches African American and Black Canadian literature. She is the author of The Development of Black Theatre in America, the editor of two volumes of Langston Hughes’s performance works, and a general editor of the Collected Works of Langston Hughes. She has written essays on African American and Black Canadian literature.


Dionne Brand's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for What We All Long For:
“The decade’s best book set in Toronto, in all its complex diversity.” —NOW
“Brand particularly lingers with her young characters, making them lovable in their beauty, loyalty, bravado, and vulnerability. Filmmaker, novelist, and poet, Brand draws on her multiple gifts in What We All Long For. . . . Brand’s most accomplished novel yet.” —Quill & Quire

Praise for Love Enough:
"As befits a city of contiguous, multicultural neighbourhoods, Brand has crafted a polyphonic narrative, told from the shifting perspectives of a diverse cast.” —Steven W. Beattie, The Globe and Mail
“Using potent poetic language, Brand weaves these characters’ stories—they often brush up against each other—into a powerful narrative. All yearn to liberate themselves from problematic relationships. . . . In Love Enough, our city seethes with love, pain, triumph and tragedy. Nobody writes about Toronto like Brand.” —Susan G. Cole, NOW (Toronto)

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