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This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  931 ratings  ·  154 reviews
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. Provocateur and poet, she continually rebir ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published April 8th 2017 by Astoria
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Lala BooksandLala
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Perfection. With Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's distinct voice, this collection had it all- stunning writing, heart wrenching stories, sharp wit, important statements. Easily added to my favourite collections of all time.
Erin
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, artists
I "discovered" this collection of poetry, song, and story lost in the organized chaos of a fellow teacher's classroom library. Personally, I feel that this is perhaps the most beautiful cover and it should be in a showcased window. Not only did I read this, but I read parts of it aloud to any person that was around. This collection is topical to a variety of issues that relate to the impact of decolonization, the internet age, relationships, social justice etc. So much struck me in this piece, b ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book of poems (described as songs) and stories is one I encountered at the House of Anansi booth at AWP. It followed me home.

Simpson navigates modernity as an "NDN"* in spaces and rituals that have to be constructed just to connect to the past. Relationships become symbols of the past and future.

I followed a few rabbit holes of the music connected to her work, and recent Canadian events that were mentioned, but I was ignorant of.
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
An incredible collection of stories and songs/poems by this Nishnaabeg writer. Wonderfully diverse in content as well as format, with numerous SF stories. Beautiful writing, and beautiful narration in the audiobook by the author with her quietly powerful voice, just a little deadpan sarcastic in the perfect way to match the humour in many of the pieces. That said I feel like I missed some things from doing the audio, because you can't linger! This might have been five stars if I'd read the print ...more
Naori
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indigenous-lit
No one taught my soul the language of this. When someone speaks it to me I will share it with you.

A passing line in the text says, “ You told me to take you to the most beautiful place in my territory “. I believe this means a place in one’s body-mind-soul, not a topographical terrain...

Should you read this book, while this is vastly inaccurate in terms of a review, please, I urge you, look for the passage on the “tidy bun”, it will make the whole book worthwhile :)
Jaime Morse
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone looking for a short read that you can read again and again - parts of this book are for you. The other parts, I could have definitely lived the rest of my life without knowing or reading. I’m always looking for interesting formats and ways in which people can write a book - I liked this format. I wasn’t in to some of the writing because at times it felt neurotic but it was manageable. Worth a read.
Nadja
I liked the mix between songs (listening on spotify at the same time for almost all songs) and (very) short stories but unfortunately I didn't get "it" most of the times. Not at all informed about the background and current state of the Nishnaabeg history I had no clue where reality ended and science fiction started. So I guess the title fits well even if other intended?
Dani
So this book wasn’t for me. It’s not that it wasn’t to my taste or wasn’t the sort of book I like to read; this book wasn’t written for me. Unlike Dunk Tank (also from Anansi) which was written by a Millennial woman and felt like I was reading my own diary at times, Simpson’s collection deals with the issues surrounding her identity as an Indigenous woman living in an urban space, trying to reconnect with her people, traditions and land. It was a window into a world that I haven’t faced often an ...more
Anne
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've never read such an explosion of stories and poems as these. Every single poem, every single story, I wanted to share and share with friends, family, strangers on the street. I wanted to read them out loud and absorb them into me. Each one carries emotions and senses that you can't always put your finger on, that make you want to re-read them over and over. When I finished this book, I considered just flipping back to the front and starting over again.
Lydia
Simpson uses fiction as a vehicle to tell the truth.

And when fiction feels true, or real, it makes it all that much better. Her short fiction has distinctive multiple voices but I can feel her author’s touch in all of them and she makes me think about how I could be a better author or writer.

Her work as a musician means that her poetry reads and sounds like music. What I adore about her poetry is that it is not forced, it does not feel abstract in any way, I understand almost all of her poems wh
...more
Barbara McEwen
I enjoyed the collection over all. Some of the stories/poems were amazing and shocked me or had me laughing, the ones focusing on social media less so, but I may be in the minority there. I think I missing out a bit not reading a physical copy. I couldn't tell when things are ending or beginning and it is difficult to go back. While I love it when audiobooks are read by the author I would grab the physcial copy if you can.
Erik Caswell
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
wow. I loved this. a refreshing read that somehow manages to punch with antagonistic force ((esp if you're a white reader -- listen to your discomfort)) but at the same time never dwells too long in self seriousness, lingering on the edges of self deprecation and honest self assessment. tough to read in places to be honest. many aggressive insights about settler colonialism and the ways "sympathetic white liberals" are the most deluded and ((passive?)) aggressive of colonizers. like indigenous n ...more
Tree Seelke
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I always strive to read diverse literature but I truly didn't know what to expect from this book.

Strong. Unapologetic. Honest. Heartbreak. Love. Those are all words that vaguely encompass the many facets of this piece of written art. I feel that I am left knowing so much more about the life of the author as well as left with many questions.

While very short, the collection of songs and stories is powerful and vibrant and compelling. I love that I fe
...more
Maggie Gordon
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Accident of Being Lost is a collection of poetry from an Indigenous writer that delves into both spirituality and day-to-day themes. It was a fascinating collection of techniques, with prose poems and lyrics intertwined to tell several related stories. Will have to seek out more of Simpson's work in the future!
Steph
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection that has bite. If you don't have thick skin or armor, this one will work your heart and your nerves. She leads with painful vulnerability and scathing sarcasm. Her essays and short stories are nothing other than brave and raw. I found myself reading paragraphs over and over, copying them down in my thought journal and arguing with myself about whether I agree or disagree with her words. And then she's laugh out loud humorous. This is a collection to keep by your bed and read ...more
Anne-Marie
A beautiful collection that makes you feel and think.
I think this collection will also benefit from rereads so you can truly see how each story both stands on its own as well as fits in with each other piece.

Some favourites include:
To the oldest tree in the world
Doing the right thing
Caribou ghosts & untold stories
Constellation
Travel to me now
Akiden Boreal
A few good reasons to wear a long skirt
Big water
Circles upon circles
Pretending fearless
...more
Ian Ridewood
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simultaneously hilarious, furious, and heart-wrenching: a collection that deserves to stand the test of time.
Jacob Wren
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson writes:

I want to be the kind of person that is good at making the best of a bad situation. We’re not in a bad situation, but still, it’s good practice, because I’m not actually a person that is good at making the best of a bad situation. What I am good at is satire and sarcasm, which I tend to use to make good situations bad. How hard could it be to make things go the opposite way?

I start by stating all the great things about this very moment. This sun is sort of tryi
...more
Nathaniel
“There are eight new notifications from Signal, all from Niibish. She just made me switch from imessage to threema to Signal because Edward Snowden tweeted that Signal is the safest texting app, mostly because the code is open source and has been independently verified. I wonder if she knows what “code” and “open source” mean, but if anyone can be trusted about these things my money’s on Snowden. Also I have no idea why she cares about internet security, but she clearly does.”

(from “Big Water”)

i
...more
Liisa
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spare and beautiful, funny and honest. I could not put this one down!
Robyn
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hilarious, breathtaking and strange. Always grateful to read new work from Leeanne Betasamosake Simpson.
Karen Connelly
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful, no holds barred, lyrical, enraging, tender, funny. I only wished that it was bigger, but I'm on a Big Book kick at the moment, so that's just me.
Anne Logan
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I continue to work through the 2019 Canada Reads Longlist, I’m happening upon some books as old as 2017 ( I typically try to review books within the year they are released), so I love that I have finally have a good excuse to read them! This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is an evocative mix of poetry, song and short story that details the conflicting emotions Simpson (or the first person perspective in this book) faces as an Indigenous person in today’s society.

I first
...more
Laura
I read this as preparation for my final year dissertation, thanks to my teacher lending me a copy.

Written with a strong voice, this book has taught me the power that stories and words hold, the power of what we say and what we do not say. Fresh, original and raw, I would like to try to take example from this collection and write exactly what I need to say, no matter who it makes uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed it, even though it was definitely not what I expected (and that's probably because of
...more
Jim Puskas
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose-poetry
Gotta love this dame! Pissed off, articulate, insightful, irreverent and funny as an angry chicken at a Sunday-school picnic. Imagery that leaps off the page and stings like a handful of wasps.
Her send-up of a ballet mom (Tidy Bun) and Calgary's great flood broke me up, while at the other end of the spectrum, Seeing through the End of the World is just about the rawest, most deeply personal and moving bits of prose one is likely to encounter.
Taryn
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I'm hovering between 4.5 and 5 rating simply because as with any collection, you won't love every single thing. But while some stories/songs hit harder than others, they're threaded together and feel so cohesive and feel as one. I loved the reality of this collection. If you don't identify with at least a handful of the expressions found here, you might be a robot.
Scott Neigh
A mix of poems and stories, or really fragments of stories. Short, sharp. Colonization, human frailty and toughness, people doing the best they can in messed-up, inspiring, loving relation. Very good.
Brooke Hayes
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book of stories and songs. ‘Seeing through the end of the world’ broke open my heart and made me cry the first four times I read it. Amazing. Many interesting perspectives in the book worth sharing.
Kelly
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: indigenous-books
...I didn’t get it. I don’t think I’m artsy/academic enough, so just not my thing!
gillyweed
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
That uncomfortable feeling when you read something that reads you, and you’re left as rattled and bare as a skeleton in CVS? It’s like THAT.
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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson 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 the spoken word, from literary and social activism.” In 2014, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King, an ...more

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