“I’ve heard that some volcanic eruptions are soft with oozing streams of lava dancing down the side of the volcano like a Las Vegas chorus line. My father’s eruptions were quick, like bricks being thrown through a window.”
Denise Tolan’s memoir-in-essay traces the legacy of violence in an Italian American family, showing how abuse reverberates both in the body and mind of a family. The book’s first part, “Blood is Not Water,” lays out how the origins of violence can infect the roots of a family tree. The second part, “Good Blood Doesn’t Lie,” shows what grows from those roots. Italian Blood is a raw, heartbreaking series of essays where everything is connected through literal and metaphorical blood. These essays offer a connection to anyone who suffered childhood shame, violence, or fear and provide reassurance that they are not alone.
About the Author
Denise Tolan lives and writes in San Antonio, Texas. Her work has been included in places such as the Penn Review, Atlas and Alice, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and The Best Small Fictions 2018. You can find out about her obsession with survivors and Moby-Dick at www.denisetolan.com.
“Tolan spares no one in this taut, clear-eyed, immensely moving memoir, least of all her ‘Little Miss Perfect’ self. A daughter/mother dialogue, a case study of paternal rage and brutality, an indictment of patriarchy and a survivor’s chronicle all in one, Italian Blood offers page after page of hard-won insights, salted with black humor. Read it straight through and let the haunting begin.” — Kat Meads, author of "Dear DeeDee"