Local author Anne Carr’s book, Beyond Tribalism: Reflections on Belonging, will probably be shelved in the Memoirs section in bookstores or libraries, but it’s not your usual linear memoir. Instead Carr has organized her book as a series of thoughtful conversations on the tribalism that divides humans versus the cultivated interests that can draw us together, illustrating each discussion with events in her own life and the lives of her husband and extended family. (A family tree would have helped here!)
She explores how our first landscape or tribe shapes and defines us and whether people can then move beyond the tribe they are born into to fully embrace the wider world, a question that is especially relevant when so many Canadians are asking, “Who am I?” and sending off samples for DNA analyses as if that will answer the question.
Carr rejects the idea that “one is much more comfortable with one’s own kind.” She is far more interested in the many ways that humans can go “beyond tribal” to belong to their communities by developing common interests in such things as improving education and dealing with societal problems or involving oneself in sports or music or travel. And she encourages her readers to see that “beyond the boundaries of tribe or nation the world in all its complexity is our final address.”
This book’s one failing is the lack of a final professional edit, the ultimate courtesy to readers.