From the Hilltop


From the Hilltop

Toni Jensen

Native Storiers: A Series of American Narratives Series

190 pages


March 2010


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

For the characters we meet in Toni Jensen’s stories, the past is very much the present. Theirs are American Indian lives off the reservation, lives lived beyond the usual boundaries set for American Indian characters: migratory, often overlooked, yet carrying tradition with them into a future of difference and possibility.
Drawing on American Indian oral traditions and her own Métis upbringing, Jensen tells stories that mix many lives and voices to offer fleeting perspectives on a world that reconfigures the tragedy and disconnection often found in narratives of American Indian life. A brother falls off the roof of an abandoned hotel, a young bride tries to connect with a family she’s never met, and an adopted teenage girl seeks acceptance where she is viewed as an outsider. The reader also encounters a kidnapped nephew, strangers in a hotel, and even a stray dog: these are the souls that populate Jensen’s stories, finding tentative connections with the past, the future, one another, and finally us.

Author Bio

Toni Jensen is an assistant professor of English at the University of Central Florida. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines and have been reprinted in volumes such as New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2007 and Best Stories from the Southwest.


“Welcome to the West as seen by the folks who shop at K-Mart and work picking up tips and cleaning motels. This is a portrait of America told with truth and love, tales at once funny as they are tragic. Toni Jensen writes from her heart.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of Caramelo

“At first you’ll wish you had written these stories yourself, then you’ll suspect you feel that way because you maybe lived them, they’re that real, but by the end you’ll be thrilled just to have entered the world of Toni Jensen’s fiction. This is an important debut, one that stays with you. Expect more from her.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Bleed into Me

"These stories are as much about tradition as they are about the now; Jensen's understated and powerful prose easily bridges that divide."—Publishers Weekly

"The choice of words, whether for descriptions, dialogue, or inner reflection, is impeccable. Jensen is a powerful, gifted writer who has crafted characters for whom this reader felt deeply."—Lisa Rand, Feminist Review

"From the Hilltop is a fine debut, an example of the way that lightning can strike for a talented writer like Jensen, illuminating a portal to that place from which all good stories come. If readers are fortunate, that lightning will strike again."—Kurt Caswell, High Country News

"Recommended for all short story collections, Jensen's stories will bring pleasure and inspire thought for many readers."—Andy J. Deering, Multi Cultural Review

Table of Contents

1. Chiromancer

2. Butter

3. Learning How to Drown

4. Still

5. At the Powwow Hotel

6. From the Hilltop

7. Conjunctions

8. Killing Elvis

9. Sight and Other Hazards

10. Flight

11. Looking for Boll Weevil

12. Song or Something Like It

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