“The thing we most don’t want has a way of landing right on top of us.”
Published: 5th June, 2018
Rate: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American–grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.
Writing a multi-generational story in a way that doesn’t confuse the reader is hard, and making it make sense & intertwine with the plot is even harder, yet Tommy Orange does it seamlessly & perfectly. Twelve people with very different backgrounds who who are connected in some way are brought to life in this book & it’s interesting to see how they navigate through life as Native Americans. Tommy Orange outlines & details the hardship they go through in such raw writing. I found the plot really moving, especially with the intertwined histories that tell a story of the Native Americans in such a distinctive voices.
I found the book almost lyrical, and was a huge learning curve as it was my introduction to Native American literature. Many a times I had to pause & Google for more information.
“There’s an ache when you keep yourself from breathing. A relief when you come up for air.”
There There is such a brilliant, enlightening read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend.
Have you read There There? What did you think about it?
Also, if you have any, do recommend to me more Native American literature. Thank you!