Bread Out of Stone


183 pages
ISBN 0-88910-492-1
DDC C814'.54





Reviewed by Nanette Morton

Nanette Morton teaches English at McMaster University.


The focus of this collection of personal, political, and literary essays
is the author’s problematic position in the intricate social matrix of
race, class, gender, and sexuality. As an African-Canadian and a
lesbian, Brand must fight for self-definition in a culture that demands
a hierarchical either/or. In her first essay, she writes “remember a
white woman asking me how did I decide which to be—Black or
woman—and when ... She asks me this because she sees her sex and takes
her race as normal.” In a country that has declared itself to be a
“white” nation, blackness is ignored or patronized, while its
musical and cultural forms are fetishized and appropriated; at one
point, Brand writes of a white jazz pianist who refers to the
“Freudian” and “European” origins of jazz.

In these essays, Brand moves geographically across various Caribbean
islands—Trinidad (her birthplace), Grenada, Cuba—where demands are
made upon women of color to be eternally strong props of black manhood.
At a Caribbean women writers’ conference, the author finds her sexual
identity the subject of disapproval. Brand’s self-defining text
reveals that all who would speak “objectively” speak from a point on
the social matrix; it is only through acknowledgment and acceptance of
each voice that real discussion can begin.


Brand, Dionne., “Bread Out of Stone,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,