A NovelBook - 2018
WINNER OF THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR , Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, GQ, The Dallas Morning News, Buzzfeed, BookPage, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER
Tommy Orange's "groundbreaking, extraordinary" ( The New York Times ) There There is the "brilliant, propulsive" ( People Magazine ) story of twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. It's "the year's most galvanizing debut novel" ( Entertainment Weekly ).
As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow--some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent--momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss.
There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen . It's "masterful . . . white-hot . . . devastating" ( The Washington Post ) at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. Tommy Orange has written a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. This is the book that everyone is talking about right now, and it's destined to be a classic.
Featured Blogs and Events
In Tommy Orange’s There There, this sentiment is echoed: the lives of Indigenous people are often interwoven with relationship to place. Orange describes the lives of “Urban Indians” in Oakland, California. The ecosystems that his characters inhabit are defined by concrete behemoths, public transportation and gentrification.[...] (more)
October 8th is Indigenous Peoples Day in Lawrence (and in several other cities across the country). To celebrate the occasion -- and because it looked flippin awesome -- Polli and Kate discuss There There, a brilliant debut novel by Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapaho). Spoiler: it was flippin awesome. ("Hey, what happened to episode 30?" Hey! Good eye! We are... workin on it! Slight tech… (more)
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From Library Staff
LPL_IanS Dec 17, 2020
12 urban Indians are headed to the Big Oakland Powwow each with their own motivations. We learn about them in eponymous segments wedged between essays on American history. Poignant, harrowing, difficult, funny, tragic, eye opening, all the good adjectives. A unique and extremely confident book (... Read More »
"Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. Tommy Orange has written a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of add... Read More »
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 r... Read More »
LPL_MeredithW Jul 14, 2018
On hold for this? Try...
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
"She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories."
Listen to this companion poem from Billy-Ray Belcourt , NDN Homopoetics
Some of us came to the cities to escape the reservation. We stayed after fighting in the Second World War. After Vietnam, too. We stayed because the city sounds like a war, and you can't leave a war once you've been you can only keep it at bay--which is easier when you can see and hear it near you, that fast metal, that constant firing around you, cars up and down the streets and freeways like bullets.
SummaryAdd a Summary
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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