A’isha Nasir is a Nigerian teenager who has been charged with adultery and sentenced to death. Sophie MacNeil is an ambitious young Canadian journalist who meets A’isha and writes an impassioned article about her plight. But when the article sets off waves of outrage and violence, Sophie is forced to come to terms with the naivete with which she approached the story. Who can – and should – tell a story? What happens when one speaks on behalf of another?
Speechless is a stunning novel of justice, witness, and courage. In luminous prose, Anne Simpson explores the power of words, our responsibility for them, and the ways they affect others in matters of life and death.
“Passionate and ambitious . . . Simpson introduces us to a cast of fully realized characters and spins a fast-paced and gripping narrative. What does it mean to speak for yourself, or for others?”
– Johanna Skibsrud, author of The Sentimentalists
“[F]iery, poetic, and at times devastating . . . An excoriating and beautiful read with the urgency of right here, right now.”
– Carol Bruneau, author of A Circle on the Surface
“Simpson deftly navigates the chaos that erupts at the outset of this sublime novel, guiding us through the vividly imagistic and intertwined desires of all her characters as their stories unfold in this deeply moving whirlwind of a read.”
– Elizabeth Philips, author of The Afterlife of Birds
“A global narrative about gender and race, about words and actions and reactions, this novel is bursting with tough female characters who will not back down and instead stand together against injustice. Simpson is a beautiful writer and this is a bold, brave book.”
– Alexander Macleod, author of Light Lifting