Denise Tolan’s memoir-in-essays traces the legacy of violence in an Italian American family, showing how abuse reverberates both in the body and mind and how everything is connected through literal and metaphorical blood. This raw, heartbreaking collection lays out how the origins of violence can infect the roots of a family tree, and reveals what eventually grows from those roots. Tolan asserts—in no uncertain terms—the importance of speaking out to break the lineage of family violence. Her essays offer a connection to anyone who suffered childhood shame, violence, or fear, and provide reassurance that they are not alone.
Denise Tolan is a writer who believes what Virginia Woolf says is true: "On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points." She is a pointer.
Denise Tolan’s work has been included in places such as The Penn Review, Atlas and Alice, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and The Best Small Fictions 2018. Denise was a finalist for Best of the Net 2022 and both the 2019 and 2018 International Literary Awards: Penelope Niven Prize in Nonfiction. Denise lives and writes in San Antonio, Texas.