There There

English language

Published June 5, 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf.

OCLC Number:
1037018521

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4 stars (12 reviews)

There There is the first novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange. Published in 2018, the book follows a large cast of Native Americans living in the Oakland, California area and contains several essays on Native American history and identity. The characters struggle with a wide array of challenges, ranging from depression and alcoholism, to unemployment, fetal alcohol syndrome, and the challenges of living with an "ambiguously nonwhite" ethnic identity in the United States. All of the characters unite at a community pow wow and its attempted robbery. The book explores the themes of Native peoples living in urban spaces (Urban Indians), and issues of ambivalence and complexity related to Natives' struggles with identity and authenticity. There There was favorably received, and was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. The book was also awarded a Gold Medal for First Fiction by the California Book Awards.

5 editions

A beautiful novel from the heart of Oakland

5 stars

"There There" is a great modern novel set in present-day Oakland. I love it because it goes from the philosophical to the practical, to the every day lives of indigenous/native folks. The characters' lives are intertwined in ways that are at times complex but after all, simple. It's a nice easy read that is still able to deal with complex topics of post-colonialism, trauma, healing, and community.

Send it to a friend in Europe who hasn't spent much time in the US/bay area, and read it yourself. It gives significant perspective on what people face here.

There There, Tommy Orange

4 stars

Overall an excellent read, though I enjoyed the first 2/3 more than the ending. The first person chapters felt stronger and much more character-development-rich than the later third person ones did. I found Opal and Jacquie to be the most interesting; Opal's perspective of the time she spends at Alcatraz was my favorite chapter in the book. Excited to check out the playlist Tommy Orange made for the book: open.spotify.com/playlist/7mCLMPEZhEohsZXS2SDuq1?si=pTVshsizRCWNGRIzUIhfuw

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