In Another Place, Not Here

Description

247 pages
$27.95
ISBN 0-394-28158-6
DDC C813'.54

Year

1996

Contributor

Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.

Review

“The day was beautiful, the heat dry, every tree in bloom. If
flamboyant could be redder it would be blood black. It would have been
an ordinary day, a day for going to Grand Anse to swim in its turquoise
lap. It would have been that kind of a day if not for the fear and the
killing and everything coming apart.”

In Another Place, Not Here is the story of two very different women who
are linked by love and their common desire for escape. Elizete is an
orphan, a rural sugar cane chopper living a life of physical drudgery
and sexual abuse. Verlia is a middle-class Caribbean woman who has
returned to Grenada after 15 unhappy years in Canada. Prevented by her
race from becoming a part of mainstream Canadian society, she felt
isolated and homeless in Canada. Yet, in Grenada, she again feels cut
off from the people she seeks to help because the rural field workers
view her as an urban outsider. Although Verlia and Elizete become
lovers, they can find no lasting happiness because both are tormented by
their personal histories.

Brand uses a variety of voices to recount this powerful and disturbing
story. Elizete’s perspective is often told in first-person Caribbean
dialect, while Verlia’s life is usually described in first- and
third-person standard English. To keep the plot moving, Brand balances
deep introspection with dramatic action: the first chapter opens with a
foot being hacked open by a machete; the last chapter ends with human
bodies flying through the air to the sound of gunfire and invading
helicopters. The themes of residual slavery, racial discrimination,
global power politics, gender roles, and poverty radiate like spokes
from the central theme of rootlessness in this important and beautifully
written work.

Citation

Brand, Dionne., “In Another Place, Not Here,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3957.