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


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Aug 12, 2018

"But for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it's been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there."
As we reach the twilight of the white male writers (the recent passing of Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth just highlights this.), voices that have too long been left out of the American narrative are finally being heard. Tommy Orange's debut novel follows a handful of Native characters as they all converge on a Pow wow in Oakland. Many of the characters are carrying baggage or scars, whether it's bad relationships, alcoholism, or the history of Native peoples in this country. But the book, while is has intensity and anger, is not despairing. I'll shut up. You should read it.

Aug 06, 2018

The premise of the main characters is attending the Big Oakland Pow Wow each with their own story. The author brilliantly delves into their Native Americanism. Orange explores Native identity, violence and struggle in the modern day Oakland. His prose style brings depth to the character's plight. "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, ....The fact we've been fighting for decades to be recognized as the present-tense people, modern and relevant, alive, only to die in the grass wearing feathers."

Aug 05, 2018

Tommy Orange is a powerful voice in Native American literature. He’s chosen a challenging task, that of weaving together the stories of a large cast of characters with connections to Oakland California. These characters all have different stories and he skillfully brings them together at a powwow in Oakland. I wish I had taken notes about the characters because there are so many and each person’s story is different.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jul 30, 2018

Sooooo good...and relevant. Intertwining vignettes of Native American people (mostly identifying as Cheyenne) living in Oakland. Slowly the connections between the vignettes becomes clear as the story builds to a climax at a Pow Wow at the Oakland Colosseum. Eye-opening and heart-breaking. Check out this amazing debut novel!

TSCPL_Miranda Jul 22, 2018

Heartbreaking, eye-opening. Dark and beautiful. There There follows 12 modern-day Native Americans as they reflect on their lives and prepare to participate in, staff, or attend a Powwow in Oakland. Gradually the connections between their lives become apparent, so that the reader sees how they are all connected, whether or not they realize it. Each chapter is from an individual's perspective, so that the reader takes in different voices and experiences, all linked by struggle. As I read, I took screenshot after screenshot of insightful, beautiful language to return to later. This novel made me consider my privilege, and my identity, and the many ways that our country's dark history was glossed over and is still glossed over in public school education. I can't promise you a happy ending here--the book wouldn't be authentic to the people that it speaks for if it were neatly tied up at the end. I do promise, though, that this is a book that will make you think, make you feel, and broaden your perspective. It's worth your time.

Jul 12, 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.

Jul 11, 2018


Jul 07, 2018

This book is indeed fierce, angry and heartbreaking. The characters of this book live in a paradox -- a world that belongs to them but they don't feel like they belong in it. As a result there is despair, addiction and brokenness all throughout. There are many characters introduced and all are converging on the upcoming Powwow in Oakland -- a day that will be life-changing for all or most. Reminiscent of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian", but with a rougher exterior. Eyeopening!

Jul 04, 2018

A very tragic tale that I thought would be a comedy. The first chapter of Edwin Black, was funny to me, because I have three people who constantly call me about such a issue. I read the book in two nights. The author is easy going , in the sense, that it feels like he's sitting next to you, with a drink in hand, telling you his story. Never mind the obscenities, people do speak this way, not that I do. It's a good story.

Jun 23, 2018

This book was phenomenal. Leaves a cliffhanger at the end which makes you mad the book ended. Tommy Orange's debut novel did not disappoint. Looking forward to more.

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