Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature


491 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8191-6
DDC C810.9'896071




Reviewed by Nanette Morton

Nanette Morton teaches English at McMaster University in Hamilton.


This collection of essays written by George Elliott Clarke between 1995
and 2000 covers a wide range of subjects, from meditations on
African-Canadian identity to the piquancy of Africadian English. The
collection is held together by Clarke’s passionate desire to
“contest the erasure and silencing of black culture and history in
Canada.” To this end, he actively engages with international scholars
of the African diaspora, taking, for example, Paul Gilroy’s The Black
Atlantic to task for omitting Canada from its analysis of the triangle
of immigration, emigration, and enslavement between Africa, the
Americas, and Europe. Another he chastises is American scholar Henry
Louis Gates Jr. for conflating the African-Canadian experience with the
African-American experience.

Odysseys Home can, at times, be too much of a grab bag. Reviews are
brief and, perhaps, too recent to cobble into a connected analysis of a
canon whose very existence is still in dispute. As with his early
anthologies, Clarke must still assert an African-Canadian literary
presence and elbow the literature’s way into a space at the table.


Clarke, George Elliott., “Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30425.