A Map to the Door of No Return

Notes to Belonging

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A Map to the Door of No Return is a timely book that explores the relevance and nature of identity and belonging in a culturally diverse and rapidly changing world. It is an insightful, sensitive and poetic book of discovery.

Drawing on cartography, travels, narratives of childhood in the Caribbean, journeys across the Canadian landscape, African ancestry, histories, politics, philosophies and literature, Dionne Brand sketches the shifting borders of home and nation, the connection to place in Canada and the world beyond.

The title, A Map to the Door of No Return, refers to both a place in imagination and a point in history -- the Middle Passage. The quest for identity and place has profound meaning and resonance in an age of heterogenous identities.

In this exquisitely written and thought-provoking new work, Dionne Brand creates a map of her own art.


A Circumstantial Account of a State of Things

My grandfather said he knew what people we came from. I reeled off all the names I knew. Yoruba? Ibo? Ashanti? Mandingo? He said no to all of them, saying that he would know it if he heard it. I was thirteen. I was anxious for him to remember.

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“Open it anywhere and start reading and it makes sense…. her true home is not Africa, the Caribbean or Canada, but poetry.” -- Ottawa Citizen

“Moving and evocative…. Brand’s examination of her own personal odyssey is fascinating.” -- The Edmonton Journal

"Brand's is a voice both brave and beautiful." -- NOW

"Dionne Brand -- exults in the power of language and deploys it to lure us from harsh reality to metaphysical heights -- [her] prose, so close to poetry, [is] almost musical." -- National Post

"Brand has two gifts that are incendiary in combination: a concise and intelligent grasp of the subtleties of emotion and an apparently effortless facility with the language. The result is an extraordinary ability to capture the flicker of experience." -- The Globe and Mail

"Brand's prose pays sharp attention to detail, with sensual, often playful descriptions. She injects a rhythm into her language and creates characters who burst with colour. This is a delicately structured, beautifully written novel, infused with rare emotional clarity." -- The Independent, UK

"At The Full and Change of the Moon is a hypnotically compelling, magical set of tales -- an unsettling and beautifully written novel." -- Los Angeles Times, A Best Book of 1999