There There

There There

Book - 2018
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"Not since Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine has such a powerful and urgent Native American voice exploded onto the landscape of contemporary fiction. Tommy Orange's There There introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career. "We all came to the powwow for different reasons. The messy, dangling threads of our lives got pulled into a braid--tied to the back of everything we'd been doing all along to get us here. There will be death and playing dead, there will be screams and unbearable silences, forever-silences, and a kind of time-travel, at the moment the gunshots start, when we look around and see ourselves as we are, in our regalia, and something in our blood will recoil then boil hot enough to burn through time and place and memory. We'll go back to where we came from, when we were people running from bullets at the end of that old world. The tragedy of it all will be unspeakable, that we've been fighting for decades to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant, only to die in the grass wearing feathers." Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame in Oakland. Dene Oxedrene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work the powwow and to honor his uncle's memory. Edwin Frank has come to find his true father. Bobby Big Medicine has come to drum the Grand Entry. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather; Orvil has taught himself Indian dance through YouTube videos, and he has come to the Big Oakland Powwow to dance in public for the very first time. Tony Loneman is a young Native American boy whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Powwow with darker intentions--intentions that will destroy the lives of everyone in his path. Fierce, angry, funny, groundbreaking--Tommy Orange's first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525520375
Branch Call Number: ORANGE
Characteristics: 294 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Tommy Orange is a debut author and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma who writes about the urban Native American experience in this powerful and heart wrenching fiction book.

A fantastic

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Dec 11, 2018

NYT Critics Best of 2018 reccomendation

DBRL_LaurenW Dec 04, 2018

"Something about it will make sense. The bullets have been coming from miles. Years. Their sound will break the water in our bodies, tear sound itself, rip our lives in half. The tragedy of it all will be unspeakable, the fact we've been fighting for decades to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant, alive, only to die in the grass wearing feathers." (p. 141) This book is a stunner. What start as vignettes about different characters now living in Oakland begin to weave together, and the connections between the characters become more clear and urgent. The plot walks - then runs - toward a conclusion you know is coming, a tragedy at a powwow in a sports stadium, that feels inevitable. But all of this is wrapped in language that embraces both the poetic and vernacular. A beautiful, heart-breaking, important book. I could not put it down.

Nov 30, 2018

NYT Best 10 Books

DPL_Graham Nov 13, 2018

“There There” hits hard. Loss, poverty, rape, violence, love, suicide, storytelling, alcoholism, and lost families are all interwoven throughout Tommy Orange’s heartfelt debut novel as multiple stories weave together to form a beautifully sad tapestry. The history of Native Americans in California and Oakland are painted beautifully but with very real brush strokes. Living on the rough side of Oakland is hard. It means deaths, shootings, and deals gone wrong. While a few characters have hope for a better life the drive towards destruction is strong.

The gravitational pull for everyone in “There There” is The Big Oakland Powwow at the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland’s first attempt at a big powwow. Each storyline slowly converges on Oakland and each character find themselves wrapped up and involved in the Powwow even if they resist. At its heart this novel is a story of good versus evil and forgiveness versus revenge. As the ending drew near I prayed that the evil in life would not win in this novel.

**There There is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Shortlist Winner

Nov 01, 2018

Indigenous people lives in the city/town of Oakland - the coping mechanisms, survival and revival of culture, the meaning of this, desperation, connections. Brilliant read

LPL_KateG Oct 12, 2018

There There has been gaining attention and I could not be more thrilled for the author. This debut is a show-stopper: the writing packs a punch, the setting feels real, the characters are interesting and diverse, and the plot kept me turning the pages. If you’re looking for something to read to remember why Columbus Day is being changed to Indigenous Peoples Day in more progressive cities, this is it.

Sep 29, 2018

This was a solid, eloquent novel. Complete with a stinging social commentary on colonization by the white man, it was a gripping read. Tommy Orange leaves some story-lines unfinished, which leaves us to wonder what happened to some of the characters we grew attached to.

Sep 11, 2018

This novel tells the stories of several Native Americans living in Oakland whose lives converge at a powwow held in the Oakland coliseum. The large cast of characters are grouped around families and other social groups, which makes it easier to follow the thread of the lives of so many people. A large portion of the narrative focuses on the lives of these characters, and includes reflections on the diverse ways in which Natives have struggled to maintain their identity in a society that has a long and sustained history of attempting to subjugate and erase them. In spite of this being a character-driven novel, I found the narrative to move along quite quickly. This was in large part due to the anticipation of what was going to happen at the powwow. This novel would appeal to readers interested in thought-provoking and character-driven stories, which convey the struggles of those who have been and are still marginalized.
--Brad (WoodneathBrad)

Sep 05, 2018

Ah, man, this was a dark piece of work. So much despair, drugs, unhappiness, dissolution. But, I'm glad I read it. I had a hard time keeping all the connections between the characters together, I think because of how the novel was organized.

SPL_Shauna Sep 04, 2018

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SPL_Shauna Sep 04, 2018

In the years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began its work, Indigenous news has taken a more prominent place in our news cycles. However, not everyone learns best by reading the news, and if you'd rather learn about cultures and the effects of colonialism by reading fiction, this book is a great place to start. It's also stunning literature in its own right, and Indigenous critics have lauded all the many things this book gets right about Indigenous lives.

There There features an ensemble cast of characters whose lives become intertwined around a large Pow Wow coming up in the Oakland area. Despite the number of characters involved in the narrative, each character feels fully fleshed out. The reader quickly becomes drawn into the narrative of the family who moves to Alcatraz to join the Indigenous occupation, a young man growing up with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome who is tugged into gang activity, a woman who flees an abusive relationship and becomes the Pow Wow's organizer, a young boy who yearns to dance at the Pow Wow despite his family's rejection of the craft, and many others. The narratives spiral together toward a crisis at the Pow Wow, with the reader unable to put the book down until everyone's accounted for.

Gorgeously written, empathic and gritty, There There is likely to make many of this year's best-of lists. Don't miss it.


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