This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything, at no additional cost to you, we receive a small commission. For more information, read our Disclosures.
by Tommy Orange
Genre: Native American Literature
Length: 304 pages
Audiobook Length: 8 hours
First Published: 2018
Tommy Orange’s “groundbreaking, extraordinary” (The New York Times) There There is the “brilliant, propulsive” (People Magazine) story of 12 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 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.
Quotes from There There
“The spider’s web is a home and a trap.”
“She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories.”
“The problem with believing is you have to believe that believing will work, you have to believe in belief.”
“Silence is not just silence but is not speaking up.”
“Life will do its best to get at you. Sneak up from behind and shatter you, into tiny unrecognizable pieces. You have to be ready to pick everything up pragmatically. Keep your head down and make it work.”
About Tommy Orange
Tommy Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.