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In Another Place, Not Here

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Dionne Brand's recently published novel, In Another Place, Not Here, is the gently written debut by a Trinidad-born writer, who manages to create nirvana for two Caribbean women. The women, Elizete and Verila, each come from myriad and murky pasts. Says Elizete, "I never wanted nothing big from the world." Elizete professes her love for Verila early in the book. In writing ...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published April 23rd 1996 by Knopf Canada (first published 1986)
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3.75  · 
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 ·  283 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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"They thought that the time would come when they would live, they would get a chance to be what they saw, that was part of the hope that kept them. But ghostly, ghostly this hope, sucking their jaws into lemon seed, kiwi heart, skeletons of pawpaw, green banana stalk."- Dionne Brand, In Another Place, Not Here

If a favourite poet writes a novel, I'm probably going to read it, especially when the poet is Dionne Brand. I'm writing this review very soon after reading Brand's non-fiction book, "A M
the first half of this book is prose poetry written in what i can best describe as trinidadian english, because that is the island-english i've heard that most closely approximates the language of this book. maybe it's another island. certainly it's another island. many of the localities have french names. i don't think localities in trinidad have french names.

still, it's the caribbean and life is hell and two women love each other but life is hell and something happens to one of them and the ot
Eyona Goree
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Another Place, Not Here is written in such an achingly gorgeous fashion, that if approached with sensitivity and a willingness to immerse yourself into the world provided, which you must in order to finish, it will leave you heartbroken, but transformed. Brand poetically and philosophically writes of love, abandonment, resistance, the emotional liberation and trauma of immigration, global perceptions of blackness within and without of the disapora, exploitation, and the ever elusive elsewhere ...more
Or ha
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Where do we begin?

I like her style. Brand concocts the Caribbean in rich images. You attempt to follow the word's choreography as they dance away from you, unsure how you ended up on the dance floor in the first place. She drops you in the midst. The story slips by and I tried to regain my bearings.

But she is telling our stories mostly heard, seldom written. How grandmas smell blood for legitimacy, how elders watch your face and know who and who is family. Entwined with the stories of these two
For readers unaccustomed to the Black Caribbean vernacular that begins Dionne Brand’s 1996 novel In Another Place, Not Here—like me—there’s a bit of an initial hurdle to leap over to sink into this book. But trust me, it’s worth it; and sink in you truly do. Brand is an exhilarating poet and although this is a novel, it’s definitely a poet’s novel. There is something—many things, in fact—deliciously seductive about the language, which rolls, rises, falls, and flows its way throughout the narrati ...more
Helena Zhang
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Artfully crafted, emotionally dense.
Apr 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys good writing
Reality, reality and the dreaming of each other's reality and fantasy, a story of two Caribbean women who find refuge in each other in the midst of the turmoil around them. Yes, the stuff of life, but Brand beautifully crafts this story with hints of Fauulkner and Woolf.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking, raw. Brand is a poet and this book is like an extended poem. She writes about same-sex love and revolution, imperialism, slavery, diasporic West Indians. It's so rich.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ma-program, fiction
I am left stunned with the ending of this book. Brand's ability to craft the story with the perfect words allowed me to enter more deeply into the story. Tragic and uplifting. Verlia truly, finally went to another place, and it was not here. The final book for class and I am left stunned.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More poetry than a novel, it was hard to stay focused on the story - definitely a book you should take your time with if you have the opportunity to do so, which I did not!
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this book all the stars in the sky.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maeum, qt, re-terraform
i can read this book for the rest of my life and be deeply, utterly satisfied.
There are two worlds here in this city where she arrives years earlier with a shoe box of clippings. One so opaque that she ignores it as much as she can - this one is white and runs things; it is as glassy as its downtown buildings and as secretive; its conversations are not understandable, its motions something to keep an eye on, something to look for threat in. The other world growing steadily at its borders is the one she knows and lives in. If you live here you can never say that you know t
"In the middle of everything Elizete asks me why I'm with her. Why I'm with her! This is too much now. I don't want to be responsible like that for anyone. I can't stand the feeling of being attached. I'm trying to finish CLR."

This is a love story for sure. Verlia and Elizete are lovers but Elizete "never wanted nothing big from the world" and Verlia has never been able to accept the world as it is. They are both Caribbean women. Elizete, abandoned as a child, ends up working in the cane fields;
Nicollette Buckle
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Im glad I made it to the end.

There were parts of the book that were hard to read because of the author's writing style (ie: prose; streams of conciseness in creole; jarring change of setting/tense... etc.). The second half was much easier to navigate than the first and it clarified a lot of the confusion we see in the first half of the novel.
I like the subject matter (immigration, blackness, organizing a social movement, love, queer identities, abuse, relationships), but the writer's style was a
Juliet Wilson
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
After the difficult first chapter, i found myself loving this book. It is an atmospheric story of oppression and revolution, love and loss. The descriptions are beautiful and the characters internal lives are laid bare. The problem is that all this beautiful language and internal explorations means that the narrative is sometimes hard to follow, actually sometimes there doesn't seem to be any narrative at all. I did find myself geographically and chronologically confused on more than one occasio ...more
Philip Lane
I found this book difficult to read, the language in the first half is very often a bit of a barrier as it is mostly a Carribean dialect or patois. Much of the book approaches stream of consciousness and I found it a struggle to keep up with the characters. That said I did get a strong sense of emotion coming from both the female protagonists, their sense of striving for a better life and discontent with their current situation, their suffering and heartache.
Neville Tirimba Ogoti
The poetic style of the novel makes it a compelling read. However in the middle, even the magnificent poetry seems inadequate to compensate for a lack of proper story-telling.
Leigh Matthews
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
This book falls into the category of 'literature that I think is amazing, but that just isn't grabbing me right now.' One to revisit!
Stephen Bess
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the rich Caribbean language in this book. Honestly, I need to read it again, but I feel it was an enjoyable read.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I could never get a flow with this book. The central characters were distant. As a reader I felt like I was in another place, not the story.
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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, whom she would listen to late at night on the radio. Brand moved to Canada when she was 17 to attend the University of Toronto, where she earned a degree in Philosophy and English, a Masters in the Philosophy of Education and pursued PhD studies in Wom ...more