COMPACT BUT AMBITIOUS: Perhaps her most ambitious and unapologetically philosophical novel to date, Theory is also a propulsive read and wildy entertaining—a lush and intimate novel of ideas grounded in universal themes of love and loss.
COMPANION PIECE: Theory is being published alongside Dionne’s new poetry collection The Blue Clerk. The two books speak to each other thematically and will share certain design elements. A true Canadian publishing event.
A DIONNE BRAND MOMENT: A former Toronto poet laureate, a beloved mentor to countless emerging writers over the years, and recently named to the Order of Canada in 2017—Dionne’s star is brighter than ever, her cred in the Canadian literary community unparalleled.
WINNER OF THE 2019 TORONTO BOOK AWARDS
WINNER IN THE FICTION CATEGORY: 2019 OCM BOCAS PRIZE FOR CARIBBEAN LITERATURE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 OCM BOCAS PRIZE FOR CARIBBEAN LITERATURE (all genres)
“Full of wry humour and biting critique, Theory is a masterful work from a writer who still knows how to have fun.” —The Globe and Mail
“Dionne Brand’s ingenious meditation on academic angst is a heady, pleasure-filled ride.” —Susan G. Cole, NOW
"What Brand does so adeptly in this book is reveal how the many layers of power and personality destroy romantic partnerships, stress familial bonds and muzzle intellectual potential. . . . Theory is a book for those who are intrigued by how a brilliant thinker approaches lost love, unmet potential and unreliable narration. But if none of that appeals to you, Brand’s gorgeous prose and sly humour will definitely win you over.” —Toronto Star
“Theory is a novel for the ages, a pirouetting inquiry into how we struggle, weep, deny, and love our way towards each other and into the arms of knowledge. Full of wit and unsettling acuity, driven by intellectual and physical passions, Dionne Brand’s new novel is a masterpiece.” —Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize
"Theory marks Dionne Brand’s latest accomplishment in exquisitely attuning both thought and language to the sublime of everyday life. ‘There’s no reference for what I want to do,’ the narrator states; and herein begins a bold new story . . . By turns wry, passionate, and sensuously intellectual, Theory is a book of singular power from one of our greatest living writers.” —David Chariandy, author of Brother and I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You
“After reading this book I realized that a novel can trace and map the inner markings inside one’s mind. A beautiful book that forever changed the way I approach writing, reading, and teaching.” —Chelene Knight, author of Dear Current Occupant, CBC Books
“In this novel of ideas, Dionne Brand dazzles with smart, jazz-like storytelling and the utterly engrossing voice of its narrator. Theory delivers a potent dose of meticulous attention to both humour and the seriousness of its subject, so that Toronto comes to each page anew. What many will recognize as love is turned into a dissertation, and by turns, the other way around. This protagonist is playful, cunning, honest, and self-aware and the book surprises from cover to cover. With this wry, beautiful, profoundly philosophical novel, Brand accomplishes something reserved for the most masterful writers of our time.” —Toronto Book Awards jury citation
“[Theory] exhibits the formal complexity and daring of all of [Brand’s] work; the novel feels no need to declare race and gender and instead situates the narrator fully in her intellectual and social worlds. The book centers on a narrator named Teoria who is trying to complete a doctoral dissertation of vaunting ambition. “My aim at the time,” she says, “was to write the bomb of a thesis that would blow up the buildings,” her research exploding the insistently white, straight, and male institutions of academia. The narrator, comically and perhaps inevitably, fails at such revolutionary goals, distracted by a series of lovers and undone by her own inconsistencies. Funny, wild, and completely lacking in pretension, Theory takes huge formal risks, reimagining the novel of ideas for our own moment, challenging and enchanting the reader at the same time.” —Windham-Campbell Literary Prize jury citation
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