What We All Long For

By Dionne Brand

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.

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