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Northern Light

Nonfiction: Memoir
Unabridged   5.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/15/2021

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Northern Light

Power, Land, and the Memory of Water

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781696606011


Kazim Ali presents his latest book, Northern Light.

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Product Description

The child of South Asian migrants, Kazim Ali was born in London, lived as a child in the cities and small towns of Manitoba, and made a life in the United States. As a man passing through disparate homes, he has never felt he belonged to a place. And yet, one day, he finds himself thinking of Jenpeg, a community thrown up around the building of a hydroelectric dam on the Nelson River, where he once lived for several years as a child. Does the town still exist, he wonders? Is the dam still operational?

When Ali goes searching, however, he finds not news of Jenpeg, but of the local Pimicikamak community. Facing environmental destruction and broken promises from the Canadian government, they have evicted Manitoba's electric utility from the dam on Cross Lake. In a place where water is an integral part of social and cultural life, the community demands accountability for the harm that the utility has caused.

Troubled, Ali returns north, looking to understand his place in this story and eager to listen. Over the course of a week, he participates in community life and learns about the politics of the dam from Chief Cathy Merrick. In building relationships with his former neighbors, Ali explores questions of land and power—and in remembering a lost connection to this place, finally finds a home he might belong to.


"This lyrical memoir is a balm for the soul." ―Literary Hub, "Recommended Climate Readings for March 2021"

"Ali's prose shines when recalling his interactions with members of the Pimicikamak community and friends. Those concerned with environmental justice or the plight of Indigenous peoples will want to give this a look." ―Publishers Weekly

"[Ali's] experiences are relayed in sensitive, crystalline prose, documenting how Cross Lake residents are working to reinvent their town and rebuild their traditional beliefs, language, and relationships with the natural world . . . Though these topics are complex, they are untangled in an elegant manner." ―Foreword Reviews Starred Review

"A world traveler, not always by choice, ponders the meaning and location of home . . . Ali alerts readers to the First Nations' struggles to fend off an open-pit titanium mine, a gas pipeline, and other water projects, taking care to include many Indigenous voices . . . A graceful, elegant account even when reporting on the hard truths of a little-known corner of the world." ―Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Kazim Ali is the author of several volumes of poetry, novels, essay collections, and cross-genre texts. His collections of poetry include Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, and The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award.