by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
University of Minesota Press
The new novel from the author of As We Have Always Done, a poetic world-building journey into the power of Anishinaabe life and traditions amid colonialism
In fierce prose and poetic fragments, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's Noopiming braids together humor, piercing detail, and a deep, abiding commitment to Anishinaabe life to tell stories of resistance, love, and joy.
Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering the sharpness of unmuted feeling from long ago, finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce the seven characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator's will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman, their conscience; Sabe, a gentle giant, their marrow; Adik, the caribou, their nervous system; and Asin and Lucy, the humans who represent their eyes, ears, and brain.
Simpson's book As We Have Always Done argued for the central place of storytelling in imagining radical futures. Noopiming (Anishinaabemowin for "in the bush") enacts these ideas. The novel's characters emerge from deep within Abinhinaabeg thought to commune beyond an unnatural urban-settler world littered with SpongeBob Band-Aids, Ziploc baggies, and Fjällräven Kånken backpacks. A bold literary act of decolonization and resistance, Noopiming offers a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits--and the daily work of healing.
"I'm pretty sure we don't deserve Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. But miracles happen, and this is one. This book is poem, novel, prophecy, handbook, and side-eyed critique all at once. This book doesn't only present characters you will love and never want to leave, it doesn't only transform the function of character and plot into a visibly collective dynamic energy field (and hallelujah), but it also cultivates character in the reader, that we might remember what we first knew. Which is that what seems separate was never separate. What feels impossible is already happening. And it depends on our most loving words. It requires our most loving actions towards each other. The ceremony has been found." -- Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Dub: Finding Ceremony and Undrowned
"Noopiming is a rare parcel of beauty and power, at once a creator and destroyer of forms. All of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's myriad literary gifts shine here--her scalpel-sharp humor, her eye for the smallest human details, the prodigious scope of her imaginative and poetic generosity. The result is a book at once fierce, uproarious, heartbreaking, and, throughout and above all else, rooted in love." -- Omar El Akkad, bestselling author of American War
About the Author:
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, and musician. A member of Alderville First Nation in Ontario, she is the author of several books, including As We Have Always Done and This Accident of Being Lost. Her latest album, The Theory of Ice, will be released in 2021.