In her debut collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, renowned writer and activist Leanne Simpson vividly explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous Peoples and communities, especially those of her own Nishnaabeg nation. Found on reserves, in cities and small towns, in bars and curling rinks, canoes and community centres, doctors offices and pickup trucks, Simpson's characters confront the often heartbreaking challenge of pairing the desire to live loving and observant lives with a constant struggle to simply survive the historical and ongoing injustices of racism and colonialism. Told with voices that are rarely recorded but need to be heard, and incorporating the language and history of her people, Leanne Simpson's Islands of Decolonial Love is a profound, important, and beautiful book of fiction.
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“As a lover of storytelling and literature, my tendency is to have deep emotional responses to whatever I am reading. Every so often, a book comes along that, as I delve deeper into the pages, is something like peering into a body of water and seeing the wonder of stars and ancestors reflected back in glorious undulation. Forgive the flowery simile, but that is exactly how I felt as I cradled Leanne Simpson's latest book Islands of Decolonial Love. I say cradled, because I felt something close to reverence as I was drawn into each short story and poem.” (Jamaias DaCosta, Muskrat Magazine)
“Leanne Simpson is a masterful storyteller and an integral indigenous voice in modern literature. Her work over the years has eloquently and powerfully captured the unique experiences of the first peoples of Turtle Island, and Islands of Decolonial Love is no exception. With precise craft, this new collection explores the many complicated facets of the contemporary Indigenous struggle to maintain tradition in a rapidly changing environment. The use of Anishinaabe language and custom in the prose and poetry resonates loudly and invokes a great sense of pride. Meanwhile, the challenge of balancing urban and reserve life explored in the pieces is easily relatable and can provide a crucial window into the experience for non-Indigenous readers. The power of Simpson's storytelling is already spectacular on the printed page, but her spoken word performance is stunningly monumental. The audio component of Islands of Decolonial Love is essential listening to truly experience the complexity and beauty of the many sentiments and ideas she expresses. Thanks to the work of some of the most cutting-edge musicians out there, her already crucial stories become audible masterpieces in song.” (Waubgeshig Rice, author, Moon of the Crusted Snow)
“The reader is forced to bear witness to colonialism's centuries-old damage on Canada's First Nations people. Of Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg ancestry, Simpson draws painful portraits of everyday life, many personal, which exhibit the hereditary nature of colonialism's scars. Simpson traces these scars with a delicate finger, writing with a fragility punctuated by moments of anger and sadness. Her raw prose spills across the page in a tumble of complex thoughts and emotions.” (Natascia Lypny, Telegraph-Journal)