Magazine article World Literature Today

The Turtle's Beating Heart

Magazine article World Literature Today

The Turtle's Beating Heart

Article excerpt

Denise Low. The Turtle's Beating Heart. Lincoln. University of Nebraska Press. 2017. 177 pages.

Peek into the kaleidoscope spin of one family's sense of identity. Denise Low's The Turtle's Beating Heart invites you to watch as she looks into the complexities and moving patterns of diaspora, social pressure, and cultural shift. The author is fearless. This kind of exploration can create family strains. With indigenous identities under microscopic examination, exploration is risky. Low brings her eye to bear on the less understood experience of her Lenape family. She takes a long and loving look.

"Discrimination against Native people has been so fierce that many people, like my family, suppressed their non-European ancestry as completely as possible," says Low. Native people have been struggling for the right to narrate our own varied stories since contact. From one nation to another, from history-book erasures to overdramatizations, from Native story to movie-land fantasy, these lives are described honestly or faked or misunderstood or jazzed up. These stories have tended to move into private family realms, handed on over kitchen tables, or even not spoken aloud at all. …

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