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This Accident of Being Lost

Songs and Stories

Written by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Published April 08, 2017 | ISBN 9781487001278

Cover of This Accident of Being Lost

Regular price $19.95 CAD

152 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

This Accident of Being Lost

Songs and Stories

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Reader's Guide ↓

A knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson that rebirths a decolonized reality, one that circles in and out of time and resists dominant narratives or comfortable categorization.

This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. These visionary pieces build upon Simpson's powerful use of the fragment as a tool for intervention in her critically acclaimed collection Islands of Decolonial Love.

A crow watches over a deer addicted to road salt; Lake Ontario floods Toronto to remake the world while texting “ARE THEY GETTING IT?”; lovers visit the last remaining corner of the boreal forest; three comrades guerrilla-tap maples in an upper middle-class neighbourhood; and Kwe gets her firearms license in rural Ontario. Blending elements of Nishnaabeg storytelling, science fiction, contemporary realism, and the lyric voice, This Accident of Being Lost burns with a quiet intensity, like a campfire in your backyard, challenging you to reconsider the world you thought you knew.

Awards and Praise

Praise for Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and This Accident of Being Lost:


“The raw energy contained within these pieces gives this book flight. And what a flight! Within its energetic arcs the reader encounters anger and love and devotion and regret. Combining stories and poems, sharp realism and Nishnaabeg legend, This Accident of Being Lost displays an extraordinary blend of humour and political truth-telling. Fiercely angry at one moment, lyrically loving in the next, Simpson introduces us to people whose honesty, humour, and passion unsettles and endears.” — Trillium Book Award Jury Citation

“Playful, pissed off and ferociously funny, Leanne Simpson writes irresistible love stories in the jaws of genocide. A genius shape-shifter and defiant genre-detonator, there is quite simply no one like her.” — Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

“Blending song and story, humour and truth, This Accident of Being Lost feels so intimate and so familiar. It is the story of our sisters, cousins, and friends. I love this book. Simpson is a master lyricist, captivating storyteller, and a true gift to us all.” — Katherena Vermette, author of The Break

“Leanne is a gifted writer who brings passion and commitment to her storytelling and who has demonstrated an uncommon ability to manage an impressive range of genres from traditional storytelling to critical analysis, from poetry to spoken word, from literary and social activism to songwriting. She is, in my opinion, one of the more articulate and engaged voices of her generation.” — Thomas King, author of Green Grass, Running Water and The Inconvenient Indian

“A stunning collection of poetry, song, and short fiction. These short pieces are darkly humorous, elegantly constructed, and beautifully sorrowful … The stories are not bleak, and a wry sense of humor glimmers throughout, walking hand in hand with damaged humanity to create a gentleness that combats the sometimes grim subject matter … This is a truly creative and heartfelt work, thoroughly modern in tone and timbre.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a poet who strides through multiple realms. In This Accident of Being Lost, she carries the reader along with her urgent, direct address … It is the uneasiness and emotional uncertainty of her characters that makes the book strangely addictive. I was stunned by Simpson’s generosity in sharing these experiences and inviting us to be challenged and to be lost. I welcomed having my assumptions about urban Indigenous people upended, and this is accomplished with the nourishing humour, wisdom, and poetic, loose-limbed lines that have been sewn through the stories.” — Globe and Mail

“A testament to the power of connection, This Accident of Being Lost is by turns poignant, funny, fiercely angry and deeply sad … remarkable.” — Toronto Star

“[Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s] storytelling philosophy is full of humour, truth, beauty, and love – and is always political. Decolonizing moments live within every song and story found in This Accident of Being Lost.” — Arc Poetry Magazine

“A powerful collection of short stories and songs … [Leanne Betasamosake Simpson] is quickly becoming known as one of the country’s greatest storytellers. Unique in its fragmented and casual, yet lyrical and elegant language … This Accident of Being Lost forces readers to look at Canada differently.” — This Magazine

“Simpson deftly moves through and combines Nishnaabeg stories, the realities of indigeneity, and fantastical spaces … this [is an] exceptionally affecting work.” — Muskrat Magazine

“This is groundbreaking and powerful … Simpson is an unapologetic resister of the colonial state, she creates a world where ordinary fears sit together with acts of defiance against racism and cultural fragmentation … one of Simpson’s more significant contributions to Indigenous literature.” — The Winnipeg Review

“A finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, this collection of stories, poems and songs from a major Indigenous voice, is a demonstration of the different ways an idea can manifest.” — National Post

Praise for Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Islands of Decolonial Love

Islands of Decolonial Love is the sort of book I have been looking for all my life — the kind of book that is going to make me a good writer, a good listener, and good citizen — it is going to wake up everything that is brilliant in everyone that reads it.” — Lee Maracle, author of Ravensong and Celia’s Song

“How many lives, Leanne Simpson, have you lived to create this most incredible collection? Astounding storytelling. Wondrous prose. Islands of Decolonial Love is a constellation of galaxies that I never want to leave. Wow!” — Richard Van Camp

“A dazzling collection of stories of beauty and resilience, fiercely illustrating how Indigenous communities continue to grow.” — Globe and Mail

“Well-written, poetic prose has special power — and the pages of Islands of Decolonial Love read like a salve for wounds from colonial hurts.” — CBC News

  • Short-listed Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2017