• Carry

  • A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land
  • By: Toni Jensen
  • Narrated by: Toni Jensen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Carry  By  cover art

Carry

By: Toni Jensen
Narrated by: Toni Jensen
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Editors’ Choice

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.

Goop Book Club Pick • 

“Essential.... We need more voices like Toni Jensen’s, more books like Carry.” (Tommy Orange, New York Times bestselling author of There There) 

Toni Jensen grew up around guns: As a girl, she learned to shoot birds in rural Iowa with her father, a card-carrying member of the NRA. As an adult, she’s had guns waved in her face near Standing Rock, and felt their silent threat on the concealed-carry campus where she teaches. And she has always known that in this 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 connects the trauma of school shootings with her own experiences of racism and sexual assault on college campuses. “The Worry Line” explores the gun and gang violence in her neighborhood the year her daughter was born. “At the Workshop” focuses on her graduate school years, during which a workshop classmate repeatedly killed off thinly veiled versions of her in his stories. In “Women in the Fracklands,” Jensen takes the listener inside Standing Rock during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and bears witness to 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. With each chapter, Carry reminds us that surviving in one’s country is not the same as surviving one’s country.

©2020 Toni Jensen (P)2020 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“[A] debut memoir from a Native author enmeshed in the American way of violence, alienation, and death...[Jensen’s] on-the-ground reports from the Bakken shale country, near the Standing Rock Reservation and its pan-Native protests against resource extraction, are illuminating, and her visceral reaction to the thought that students on her campus are now allowed to carry concealed weapons - even after so many school shootings - makes for a powerful rejection of a culture that has always been grounded in violence and intimidation.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Carry explores the static and kinetic energies of the American gun - its ability to impose its terrible will from a locked box on a shelf or the hands of an active shooter. Jensen explores the gun’s tragic impact with heartfelt prose and deep intellect - on politics, on history, on Black and Indigenous bodies, on women’s bodies, and on children behind closed doors. Carry unfurls America’s long rap sheet. It is full of difficult and vital news, delivered right on time.” (Terese Marie Mailhot, New York Times best-selling author of Heart Berries)

Carry is a book about how the body holds the story of everything that has happened to us in the world. Toni Jensen brings us into the lines and fractures, the desires and violences, the visceral truths of culture and history written into our very bones. By telling stories that thread through land and body, Carry reimagines what might come on the journey from suffering to beauty: voice. This is a body history song." (Lidia Yuknavitch, best-selling author of Verge)

What listeners say about Carry

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gorgeous performance of a powerful, important new text


Toni Jensen’s memoir is an unforgettable record of surviving in America as a Métis woman. Covering the death of George Floyd to the pandemic to Standing Rock, this book is a testament to the time we live in—and it is beautifully read by the author.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Story but …

Loved the story but the pitch and tone was very monotonous for me. Other then they what a wonderful book.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderfully Written

So much necessary work is in this collection that can't be stressed enough...how women, POC, and land have been mistreated throughout America's history. Despite the nation's ugly record of violence, Jensen narrates in a poetic tone that makes the beauty of nature and the body, even after all the injustices they experience, beautiful and persevering. At times the statistics, definitions, and outside narratives were heavy handed and I wanted more personal history, exploration of memoir. Still, exquisite and enlightening work that's worth a read. ❤❤❤

1 person found this helpful

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It was ok.

I like the subject matter. Just not so into this author’s particular writing cadence. The style of this author let my mind wander to much and I found it hard to stay fully engaged.

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Wasted Credit

The rhythm, pace, and tone of the reader made this story dry and difficult to listen to. The story is full of trauma, which is life, but the author rarely shares the celebrations that seem to help her persevere. It's unfortunate because this book came highly recommended. Perhaps it simply was not for me.