There There

There There

Large Print - 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 : Random House Large Print, [2018]
Edition: First large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525633013
0525633014
Branch Call Number: LGE-TYPE FICTION ORANGE 2018
Characteristics: 436 pages (large print) ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

This is the best book I read in 2018. I read it in June, and it is is brilliant. Through the use of chapters written by a number of vivid characters, it tells the story of the urban Native American- as opposed to the reservation Native. All these characters are headed to a big powwow in Oakland, ... Read More »

The title is not a soothing 'there there,' but from the Gertrude Stein quote "There is no there there," which is given a profound context in this book in which each chapter is a character preparing for the Big Oakland Powwow.

I've never read a debut novel that blew me away like There, There did. From the devastating essay the novel opens with to the very last pages, Orange's use of language is astonishing and powerful. - Diana


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liljables Jan 08, 2019

Orange’s prose is completely gripping from page one. Before the fictional narrative begins, the author opens with an essay, providing context for many of the book’s events and images; I found this frame of reference really helpful, since I haven’t read much Native American fiction. Once the narrative began, I was captivated by each new character - their experiences are diverse, but with similar identity-related struggles. If the opening essay asks the question, “what does it mean to be a modern, urban Native American?”, the novel itself lets us know that there’s no one answer to that query.

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hawkinsc
Jan 08, 2019

Did not live up to the hype as one of the best books of 2018. I had a hard time connecting with any one character as they all were fairly similar (all reflected the author in some way) except for external influences and situations. The ending was predictable from the start.

ArapahoeJulieH Jan 03, 2019

Tommy Orange has written a compelling first novel of tragedy, loss, identity and what it means to be urban and indigenous today.
12 Individual stories converge around a larger story, an Oakland Pow Wow and how the fates of the characters are inter-connected. Some of the characters are related; however, all share a history which leaves behind a trail of trauma, alcoholism, drugs, violence, and a search for identity within the larger tribe.
I look forward to hearing more from Tommy Orange and perhaps more on the past and future history of the Red Feathers.

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CCBunney
Jan 02, 2019

An interesting cast of characters that all go to the big pow wow. So many connections, so much history and angst. I want to know what happens next. Tommy where is the sequel!

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TaraAttea
Dec 31, 2018

I loved this book. It is my top book that I read in 2018. Amazingly crafted. Beautiful

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The_Thin_Man
Dec 31, 2018

This was an Obama book in 2018. Know the history of Thanksgiving so you can understand and change the way you move forward.

j
jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018

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LauraSteinert
Dec 27, 2018

For those who only know the history of the US learned in public schools and on TV, I imagine the prologue is a bit difficult to get through. When the "winners" tell stories they are a bit different than the story the "losers" tell. The rest of this novel is a story, slightly fragmented, told to us from multiple perspectives. All of them descended from the few survivors of the Indian Termination Policy. This is a grim view of a marginalized fragment of our society and the result of hundreds of years of marginalization, systemic government abuse and active neglect, and the psychological scars that fester when all hope was lost ten generations ago.

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stamaro
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.

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LauraSteinert
Dec 27, 2018

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.

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LauraSteinert
Dec 27, 2018

This [forced migration into cities] was part of the Indian Relocation Act,, which was part of the Indian Termination Policy, which was and is exactly what it sounds like. Make them look and act like us. Become us. And so disappear.

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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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