This Accident of Being Lost is a 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalist with a collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Author of short fiction stories like Islands of Decolonial Love and the The Gift Is in the Making. This Accident of Being Lost is an anthology filled with stories, poetry, and songs. With themes like love, genocide, self love, dark humor and sorrow. It speaks about the realities of decolonization and challenges the reader to think about their identity in this world.
As someone who loves all things anthology and feels like I accidentally get lost or am lost half of the time, I decided to read this, but shelved it last year when I became too busy. Since the year is ending, I decided it was time to actually read it, especially since I’ve seen great reviews about the book. The themes and collections and the storytelling drew me in and challenged me to think.
Going into the book, I knew I’d love it, it had every element and theme that I love, but I was thoroughly disappointed. I was bored and confused half of the time, sometimes the writing felt unorganized. The anthology is 116 pages (124 total) and the writing is great, we have a mix of songs, short stories and poetry, what is not to love? I don’t know why but I could not enjoy this book. I enjoyed how Betasamosake Simpson divided the book into three parts, rebellion is on her way, a witness on unkept-promised land, and stealing back red bodies (including a Situation Update) but that’s about it. Still, I did not like majority of the stories and I could not get attach to any of it. At first I thought maybe it’s the writing style but the writing wasn’t the problem. So was it the stories or how they were written? It couldn’t be, they were detailed but not memorable in my opinion. I only liked one piece, caribou ghost & untold stories (pgs 33-34)- ” we are always almost drowning.” As someone suffering from depression, living in two worlds with various identities and labels, this poem resonated with me. Dealing with regret and trying to survive in a world that doesn’t love you (that was my interpretation). That was about it. All in all, I did not enjoy reading but kept reading because I hoped it would get better, but it didn’t. It felt like a book that promised something and it couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver.
Have you read The Accident of Being Lost? Let me know your thoughts