While the collection of stories and poems entitled This Accident of Being Lost is a relatively slim volume at 120 pages, much is packed into the book. This is because Leanne Betasamosake Simpson has a lot to say, and as a result, the tome feels ancient and modern at exactly the same time. The juxtaposition of new and old comes into play in cases like when Simpson discusses heading home to a condo that overlooks the water (who knew there was so much poetry around Yonge and Dundas).
The reason that the book succeeds is because of its poetic nature (there is much to deeply respect about the spare book), and moments of real earthy, fleshy prose as well as poetry. Some of it works more effectively than others, but in a book this compact it rarely matters. What is best is the contrast between Indigneous tradition and modern living coming in contact with each other, like in a canoe trip that Simpson describes in great detail and a description of urban living and fluid sexuality.
In fact, there is hope and promise with a book like This Accident of Being Lost that when the promise is fulfilled in longer form (no need to suggest that it must be a book), that Simpson will be a trailblazer in the genre. For now, the fragmentary text portends a hope for the future that looks back to the past and meets in the middle.
This Accident of Being Lost was provided by House of Anansi in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.