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BookNet Staff Picks 2021 - Reads by or about Indigenous peoples

The Cure for White Ladies
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson


House of Anansi Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Sep 01, 2020
$22.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0.9 in | 0.93 lb

Page Count:

368 pages
House of Anansi Press Inc
House of Anansi Press
FICTION / Indigenous
  • Short Description
Award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson returns with a bold reimagination of the novel.

Award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson returns with a bold reimagination of the novel, one that combines narrative and poetic fragments through a careful and fierce reclamation of Anishinaabe aesthetics.

Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven main characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. Each attempts to commune with the unnatural urban-settler world, a world of SpongeBob Band-Aids, Ziploc baggies, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, and coffee mugs emblazoned with institutional logos. And each searches out the natural world, only to discover those pockets that still exist are owned, contained, counted, and consumed. Cut off from nature, the characters are cut off from their natural selves.

Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing — healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together. Enter and be changed.

LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, and musician, and a member of Alderville First Nation. She is the author of five previous books, including This Accident of Being Lost, which won the MacEwan Book of the Year and the Peterborough Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Indigenous Author; was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award; was longlisted for CBC Canada Reads; and was named a best book of the year by the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Quill & Quire. She has released two albums, including f(l)ight, which is a companion piece to This Accident of Being Lost.

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 humour, 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

Noopiming is a novel that is as philosophically generative as it is stylistically original. It begins with someone who is frozen in a lake, waiting, and from whom we learn that: ‘being frozen in the lake is another kind of life.’ Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s expansive work explores the indivisibility of beings — old woman, old man, tree, caribou, stone, ice, spirit, geese, the brain, and more, all watching, grieving, thinking, acting, and listening amidst the ongoing and quotidian urgencies of capital. They are sleepless, ceaseless, trying to alter and to recode the world of consumerism, and their survival means that they must daily and collectively reconstruct existence in the city and its coterminous forests. Noopiming is far ahead of us in so many registers of story, language, and worldview; its cumulative effect is a new cosmography.

- Dionne Brand, award-winning author of Theory

This imaginative book is what would happen if we gave pen and paper to the deepest, most secretive parts of ourselves. Down to the fibres, down to each breath, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson dares to not only explore the humanity of a character, but the humanity of the parts that make us whole, in a world running on empty. - Catherine Hernandez, bestselling author of Scarborough

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Noopiming once again confirms her position as a brilliant, daring experimentalist and a beautiful, radical portraitist of contemporary NDN life. The prose hums with a lovingness that moved me to tears and with a humour that felt plucked right out of my rez adolescence. The chorus of thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries, poets, and misfits that Simpson conjures here feels like a miracle. My heart ached and swelled for all of them. What I adored most about this book is that it has so little to do with the white gaze. Simpson writes for us, for NDNs, those made to make other kinds of beauty, to build other kinds of beautiful lives, where no one is looking. Noopiming is a book from the future! Simpson is our much-needed historian of the future! - Billy-Ray Belcourt, award-winning author of This Wound is a World and NDN Coping Mechanisms

How is it that Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s fiction can feel both familiar and warm like old teachings and absolutely fresh and brand new? Is it even fiction? Noopiming seems to exist somewhere in the in-between, with all the best parts of poetry and story. As always, I am in awe of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, prolific in every way. - Katherena Vermette, bestselling author of The Break

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 (but yes, it does), 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

This brilliant novel is a carefully curated mix of prose and poetry, though the narrative and poetic form never leaves either; at all times, there is a deliberate attention to rhythm, movement, and sound. The layered storytelling is rich with wry and undeniable humour and introduces readers to an incredible cast of characters, giving us the perspective of Elders, Indigenous youth, raccoons, geese, and trees, braiding together past, present, and future and intentionally centring Nishnaabe life and practices … This is the beauty and masterful work of this novel: it holds something for every Indigenous person. It’s a gift that feels specifically for us. - Globe and Mail

[Noopiming] presses readers — Indigenous and settler alike — to consider the novel form as a wider venue for storytelling than it is traditionally conceived … Language is thrilling in all of Simpson’s work, and nowhere more so than in this newest offering … Simpson’s writing is at once political and loud, honest and whisper-quiet … This novel will be reread for its many truths and teachings and for its undeniable power. The complicated questions Noopiming poses are worth revisiting, and the novel’s wisdom will continue to grow as the reader does. - Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

Taking traditional Anishinaabe teachings and weaving them through contemporary forms of understanding, Simpson brings the reader into not a new world, but a world already existing, one that breaks through the colonial bars that try to cage it. - Rabble.ca

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