As You Were

Regular price $ 16.95

by David Tromblay

Dzanc Books

2/16/2021, paperback

SKU: 9781950539222


A hypnotic, brutal, and unstoppable coming-of-age story echoing from within the aftershocks set off by the American Indian boarding schools of generations past, fanned by the flames of nearly fifteen years of service in the Armed Forces, exposing a series of inescapable prisons and the invisible scars of attempted erasure.

When he learns his father is dying, David Tromblay ponders what will become of the monster's legacy and picks up a pen to set the story straight.

In sharp and unflinching prose, he recounts his childhood bouncing between his father, who wrestles with anger, alcoholism, and a traumatic brain injury; his grandmother, who survived Indian boarding schools but mistook the corporal punishment she endured for proper child-rearing; and his mother, a part-time waitress, dancer, and locksmith, who hides from David's father in church basements and the folded-down back seat of her car until winter forces her to abandon her son on his grandmother's doorstep.

For twelve years, he is beaten, burned, humiliated, locked in closets, lied to, molested, seen and not heard, until his talent for brutal violence meets and exceeds his father's, granting him an escape.

Years later, David confronts the compounded traumas of his childhood, searching for the domino that fell and forced his family into the cycle of brutality and denial of their own identity.


"Sit down into the passenger seat and don't worry about that sound coming from under the hood, or that shudder in the front end, or the rust under your feet. Just let David Tromblay's voice carry you, and close your eyes to listen if you want--he's got the wheel, he knows where this is going." --Stephen Graham Jones, author of The Only Good Indians

"There is something both deep-reaching and visceral in the way this memoir ignites the readers; Tromblay's memories read like we're the ones re-experiencing our own repressed incidents. And he lets them come from anywhere, like shrapnel, waking us up to the true state of our collective American soul." --Ismet Prcic, author of Shards

About the Author:

David Tromblay served in the U.S. Armed Forces for over a decade before attending the Institute of American Indian Arts for his MFA in Creative Writing. His essays and short stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Pank Magazine; Michigan Quarterly Review; RED INK: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities; The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature; Yellow Medicine Review; Open: Journal of Arts & Letters; Watershed Review; FIVE:2: ONE Magazine; and BULL: Men's Magazine. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his dogs, Bentley and Hank.