ISBN 9781984821188, 1984821180
Hardcover | 304 pages
“So strong, bright, and clear. We need more voices like Toni’s, more books like Carry.”—Tommy Orange
A powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author’s encounters with gun violence—for readers of Jesmyn Ward and Terese Marie Mailhot.
Toni Jensen grew up in the Midwest around guns: As a girl, she learned how to shoot birds with her father, a card-carrying member of the NRA. As an adult, she’s had guns waved in her face in the fracklands around Standing Rock, and felt their silent threat on the concealed-carry campus where she teaches. And she has always known she is not alone. As a Métis woman, she is no stranger to the violence enacted on the bodies of indigenous women, on indigenous land, and the ways it is hidden, ignored, forgotten.
In Carry, Jensen maps her personal experience onto the historical, exploring how history is lived in the body and redefining the language we use to speak about violence in America. In the title chapter, Jensen recalls the discrimination she faced in college as a Native student from her roommate to her faculty adviser. “At the Workshop” focuses on her graduate school years, during which a classmate repeatedly wrote stories in which he killed thinly veiled versions of her. In “Women in the Fracklands,” Jensen takes the reader inside Standing Rock during the Dakota Access pipeline protests, as well as the peril faced by women, in regions overcome by the fracking boom.
In prose at once forensic and deeply emotional, Toni Jensen shows herself to be a brave new voice and a fearless witness to her own difficult history—as well as to the violent cultural landscape in which she finds her coordinates as a Native American woman. With each chapter, Carry reminds us that surviving in one’s country is not the same as surviving one’s country.