Disorientation (Kobo eBook)

Disorientation By Ian Williams Cover Image
Available Now


A Boston Globe Best Book of 2021: “Lyrical, closely observed” essays on being Black in the US, Canada, and Trinidad, and how those experiences differed (Kirkus Reviews).

Finalist for the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

With that one eloquent word, disorientation, Scotiabank Giller Award winner Ian Williams captures the impact of racial encounters on racialized people—the whiplash of race that occurs while minding one’s own business. Sometimes the consequences are only irritating, but sometimes they are deadly. Spurred by the police killings and street protests of 2020, Williams offers a perspective that is distinct from that of US writers addressing similar themes. Williams has lived in Trinidad (where he was never the only Black person in the room), in Canada (where he often was), and in the United States (where as a Black man from the Caribbean, he was a different kind of “only”). He brings these formative experiences fruitfully to bear on his theme in Disorientation.

Inspired by the essays of James Baldwin, in which the personal becomes the gateway to larger ideas, Williams explores such matters as the unmistakable moment when a child realizes they are Black; the ten characteristics of institutional whiteness; how friendship forms a bulwark against being a target of racism; the meaning and uses of a Black person’s smile; and blame culture—or how do we make meaningful change when no one feels responsible for the systemic structures of the past.

Disorientation is a book for all readers who believe that civil conversation on even the most charged subjects is possible. Employing his wit, his empathy for all, and his vast and astonishing gift for language, Ian Williams gives readers an open, candid, and personal perspective on an undeniably important subject.

“Honest, vulnerable, courageous and funny.” —Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

Product Details
ISBN-13: 9781609457402
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: November 30th, 2021