Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in New Canadian Narratives


201 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8102-9
DDC C813'.5409'353




Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is an associate professor of English at Laurentian
University and the editor of Arachne.


Masculine Migrations is an important book. Coleman offers insightful
readings of works by Austin Clarke, Dany Laferriиre, Neil Bissoondath,
Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, and Ven Begamudré. However, the
book’s theoretical dimension informs the studies of these particular

Coleman’s study is based on an understanding of human subjectivity as
dialogic, “produced by but simultaneously producing the surrounding
social structures.” His interest in this understanding, which has been
developed primarily by feminist theorists, is focused on works that
represent men who move from another country/culture to Canada, and who,
as a result, encounter a set of masculine practices different from those
they left behind. This encounter creates “a unique opportunity to
examine masculinities in moments when their usually assumed ideologies
and structures become exposed to conscious reconsideration.”

The author further aims to contribute to the ongoing “re-evaluation
and reinvention” of the masculine; to advance “progressive sexual
politics” from his position “within the constraints of the
particular form of WASP ethnicity that shaped [him]”; and to link up
with his own past life in Ethiopia. In his afterword, Coleman refers to
the destabilizing effects of the sense of loss often experienced in
migration. This crisis, he writes, can lead either to the hardening of
outdated traditions or to innovation based on the realization of one’s
dependence on others. With admirable frankness and personal commitment,
Coleman sets forth a strategy for connecting analysis with personal and
social change.


Coleman, Daniel., “Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in New Canadian Narratives,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024,