By Nora Murphy
University of Minnesota Press, $17.95
Words spoken by a Dakota women, “This is conquered land,” haunted author Nora Murphy. Her own Irish great-great grandparents had fled the potato famine and laid claim to 160 acres in a maple grove in Minnesota. Knowing that her dispossessed ancestors’ homestead was built upon another, far more brutal dispossession, is the hard truth underlying White Birch, Red Hawthorn.
In this memoir, Murphy searches for the deeper connections between this contested land and the communities that call it home, giving us hope that despite all the suffering, healing can follow if we simply listen.—Breana Roy