What We All Long For is a novel written by the Canadian writer Dionne Brad. While she is generally known for her lyrical work, her novel quickly became popular not only in Canada but also internationally. What we long for is the author’s first novel. Before the publication of the novel, the writer published a collection of short stories and three volumes of poetry before deciding to publish What We All Long For.
The main theme in the novel is the idea of belonging and the action is set in Toronto. In the novel, Dionne Brad analyzes various young characters in their twenties trying to find their identity in a new country. The novel has five different narrators, all coming from immigrant families and forced to face discrimination and the incapability of adapting to a new country. The characters suffer because their families are fragmented but despite this they try to remain positive and open minded.
The author presents the lives of poor immigrants in the country of Canada and her narrative may have been inspired by her own experience. Dionne Brad was the child of immigrant parents as well and she had to adapt to a new country when her parents moved to Canada. But she proved that immigrant children can be successful as well and that no matter the financial or racial background, everyone can become successful and find their purpose in life.