There There

There There

Large Print - 2018 | First large print edition
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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, New York : Random House Large Print, [2018]
Edition: First large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525633013
Branch Call Number: LP ORANG-T
Characteristics: 436 pages (large print) ; 21 cm
large print


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 13, 2019

Tommy Orange has created and emotionally overwhelming book describing through the planning of a powwow in Oakland the lives of Native Americans as they make their way to this event. Blood and history binds the characters despite their coming from different backgrounds and places. As their land and 100M lives were taken from them, the Nations survivors struggle to live in the new world of now. Powerful insight into the conflict of race/ethnicity in survival and all that our history places upon us.

Feb 12, 2019

Downtowners Book Group Selection:
3 ½ Stars – Growing up in Minnesota we were reminded daily of who was in America first. The names of our towns, counties, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, mascots, the leather moccasins we wore, leather fringed jackets and beaded headbands. Our neighbors were Indian and so were our classmates. Even with all of this I can honestly say I don’t remember the Indian Head on the television test pattern. I remember the four circles and the loud noise the television made when it went off the air as it woke us up as a reminder to go to bed. What I mean to say is Native American people, their names, their culture surrounded us on a daily basis, just as the sky was blue and the grass was green. Being Indian or hearing the name of towns or lakes didn’t stand out because it was so much a part of our lives.
There There was sad for me to read and riddled with lamentable profanity. I need to reach out to my Native friends to see if they have read this novel and concur with Tommy Orange in feeling the slight depicted in his debut. If so, I want to know, I need to better understand the theme of identity.

neyoscribbles Feb 05, 2019

This may be the one novel that comes very close to speaking to most of the problems that a Native American may experience. There are so many characters, all with a troubled past, present or an unforeseeable and on the brink of tumbling down future. Although it is heartbreaking, it is very insightful because I truly appreciated all the different perspectives in terms of gender and the different generations. It is difficult to put this book down and no one chapter or perspective is dull. Also, most of the characters were either related to each other or somehow their lives intertwined and their influences on each other were inevitable. So much so, that it very neatly, became a full circle that offered a sense of closure for the reader.

Feb 04, 2019

Fictional but written with historical anecdotes. Shows like Longmire or Hell On Wheels comes to mind. Documentaries and news about the life and plight of Native Americans flash out when going through story of each character. This is not an easy fictional read.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Jan 22, 2019

This is it! My favorite book from 2018... and I was only a little late to the game. Despite its important setting (mostly Oakland), the characters steal the show. I mean, so many interesting dichotomous, paradoxical characters that are all connected in some capacity. Trying to figure out how was part of the book's appeal for me. Loved the writing, loved the pacing, loved it all. I think it reads a lot like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz so if you like that one...

Jan 22, 2019

December Bookclub Book

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.

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.

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!

View All Comments


Add a Quote
jpainter Jan 31, 2019

"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

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.

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.


Add a Summary
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.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at TPL

To Top