Saturday, December 6, 2014

Love Enough by Dionne Brand

Elegant, thoughtful and life-affirming. Dionne Brand's Love Enough is so good that I found myself reading more and more slowly, wanting to make the 180 pages of her newest novel last as long as possible.

Brand also writes poetry, short stories and essays, but I love her novels most of all. In Another Place, Not Here (1996), has long been a favourite, with its simmering rage and the singular voice in the opening pages. Battling injustice is a central theme in Brand's work.

In Love Enough, the central character is a social activist in Toronto. June has had both male and female lovers.

"Beatriz was clearly passing through and this explosive impermanence was precisely what June wanted at the time. Not love but the fissive encounter, the intense ideas and intense sex and the hypersense that every moment was atomic and defining. Of course one cannot live at that pitch forever, although naturally one wants to."

June's current lover, Sydney, weathers the storms of June's prickly contrariness. Their relationship is part of what makes this book so full of hope: that there is indeed love enough to survive through difficult times.

There are other characters with intersecting lives. Bedri and Ghost are two young Black men on the run from a violent encounter. Bedri's father and Ghost's mother have their own troubles. Ghost's sister Lia is hoping that her friend Jasmeet will return to the city and find her. Paying attention to beauty is how Lia survives. Every morning, she studies the colours of the lake view outside.
View from the house where I've been staying for the past week in Victoria, BC.
"She ought to buy a camera, then she could set it at the window and take shots each minute. But then again, that would not quite do for what she needs. The camera would take the picture but she needs the moment to sink into her, to somehow become chemical, to metabolise, to reconstitute, yes, reconstitute her heart."

As I read Love Enough, I could feel my heart expanding to make room for June, Sydney, Bedri, Ghost and the rest, with their human frailties so tenderly portrayed. Yes. Thank you, Dionne Brand, for this beautiful book.

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