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Getting Lit with Linda - The Canadian Literature Podcast

An Entry Without an Exit: Dionne Brand's A Map to the Door of No Return

Season 4, Ep. 59

In this episode, Linda reflects on Dionne Brand's magnificent A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging, reprinted by Vintage (a division of Random House) in 2023 - but initially published over twenty years ago. That's the staying power of this particular volume - the "Door of No Return" is a particularly harrowing metaphor and, as Linda notes, there are many expressions that use "doors" in contemporary usage. Just not like this book does! A prolific and accomplished writer and professor, Brand is referring to the Black diaspora vis-a-vis the Black Atlantic slave trade.


To set up this discussion, Linda considers her personal fascination with "doors" (consider the gorgeous doors of the Atwater Library in Montreal) and then how they have been used in other works -- like that of Complaint! by Sara Ahmed or The Diamond Grill by Fred Wah or The Door by Margaret Atwood -- and then compares them to how the image is used in Brand's literary text.


In the Takeaway, Linda gives a shout-out to the annual Read Quebec Book Fair, that this year is taking place from November 3 to November 4th in the McConnell Building Atrium of Concordia University. Please join her there, where she will be interviewing Catherine Hernandez and Eva Crocker live!

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