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There There

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  46,894 ratings  ·  7,152 reviews
Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking—Tommy Orange’s first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen, and it introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career.

There There is a relentlessly paced multigenerational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history o
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Knopf
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Carl R. However, on further examination, it turns out that the meaning of the quote is closer to Thomas Wolfe's "You can't go home again" than to the notion…moreHowever, on further examination, it turns out that the meaning of the quote is closer to Thomas Wolfe's "You can't go home again" than to the notion that Oakland is worthless. A revelation to me even though I live in Oakland. Stein grew up on a farm when Oakland was much more rural, and found the farm subsumed by housing development when she returned to her childhood home. Thus, her childhood "there" was no longer "there" (less)

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4.02  · 
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 ·  46,894 ratings  ·  7,152 reviews

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Emily May
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, 2018, mma-2018
"Don't ever let anyone tell you what being Indian means. Too many of us died to get just a little bit of us here, right now, right in this kitchen."

Orange's ambitious debut captures the experience of modern "urban Indians" through constantly shifting third person perspectives, ultimately showing that Native Americans are not a monolith, not a stereotype, not united under a single identity.

The author takes a number of risks, and yet they all work to create a book of such extreme power that it'
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an ambitious novel told in stories about different Indians in Oakland whose lives converge at a Pow Wow. It took me a long time to get into the novel. When the threads start to come together the novel picks up. There is some great writing throughout. But still... something is missing here. Something isn’t quite working for me. But the ambition and the last lines do a lot to elevate this. Look forward to seeing more from the author.
Elyse Walters
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update: I’m very happy to learn that Tommy Orange won the PEN/Hemingway award!!!
Congrats!!!n”There There” is an outstanding novel.

Update: Terrific pick!!!! 2018 National Book Award Longlist.... Fiction!!

5+++++ stars!!!!! Absolutely phenomenal!!!!!
“There There” is a non-stop pace story... COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN....
The stories in here are gut wrenching *intimate* about dislocation-identify-violence -loss-hope-and power.
“We have been defined by everyone else and continue to be slandered despite
Rick Riordan
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Orange's debut novel is already getting a lot of love, but I have to chime in with my praise, too. For one thing, There, There is set in Oakland, where I lived for most of the 90s, and reading it brought back a lot of memories. The author hits us with a buckshot blast of wonderful characters, self-described "Urban Indians," each with his/her own short, interwoven chapters. We follow their interconnected lives as they prepare for the first Big Oakland Pow Wow. They are drawn there for many ...more
Angela M
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Before I even finished reading this, I began hoping that Tommy Orange was already working on his next book. Beautifully written, creatively and skillfully structured with the stories of multiple characters, each one important and affecting on their own, but when meshed with connections that unfold I was blown away. For a short time these narratives seem like individual stories until one by one the characters become connected and their collective story is brutal, honest and sad and powerful. It w
Matthew Quann
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Orange’s There There is, hands down, my favourite novel of the year (2018) thus far.*

If you came here looking for a scale-tipping review, look no further. In fact, imagine me clearing off any weight on the opposing side and planting my considerable heft on the side favoring your reading of this novel. If you’ve ever picked up a book because of my reviews, then trust me: this is one you’re going to want in your hands posthaste. There There is a novel we’ll be seeing crop up on best-of and a
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-clubs

I have no idea how to rate this book. Things about it enthralled me and other parts just fell flat. This book started off so strong. The writing in the prologue just grabbed me. I was convinced I was going to love the book. But once the chapters begin, I started to have problems.

You are introduced to 12 characters, each given their own chapter, and initially, I thought the book was a series of short stories. I think the sheer number of “main characters” and all their various stories and viewpoin
Diane S ☔
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dene Oxedene, putting his life back together after his uncle's death, wins a grant, allowing him to video stories from those attending the Oakland Pow Wow. In alternating voices we follow the lives and stories of twelve different characters, many who have fallen on hard times of one kind or another. So in a way, these are connected, though the same people appear more than once, short episodes in the lives of those who have lost touch with their culture. This is in most cases through no fault of ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A collection of interrelated stories set in Oakland, California, There There charts the inner lives of twelve Native Americans as they prepare for the impending Big Oakland Powwow. Orange hops from perspective to perspective, weaving together past and present and exploring what life in Oakland means to each Native character. The best of the chapters are highly affecting, and infuse great storytelling with political purpose; they are fast moving and full of well-drawn characters. The book unfortu ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Any novel that highlights or educates it's readers about a time in history where there was mistreatment of people due to their race religion or beliefs is always worth reading and this book is one of those books. However I am not judging the book on its importance but on how it came across and affected me and unfortunately from page one I didn't connect or engage with either the story or the characters.

There There tells the story of twelve characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A bunch of loosely woven essays on memory of a gross injustice ultimately forming a loose semblance of a plot.

Q: “There There,” by Radiohead… “Just ’cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.” … This there there. He hadn’t read Gertrude Stein beyond the quote. (с)

Rating: We start at 5 stars.
+1 star: for the fearlessness: raising this controversial topic is strong.
-1 star: for the disjointedness. As an innovative and fresh view it worked. As a novel, it didn't. The book is more like a collection
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This debut is absolutely 100% incredible. Marlon James called it a thunderclap and I have to agree. This might be my favourite read of the year so far. And as is often the case when I adore a book this much, writing a review does not come particularly easy because I want to do it justice without just reverting to hyperboles.

This book is told from 12 widely different perspectives that converge on the Big Oakland Powwow, and also includes some non-fiction parts in between. It is impeccably structu
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Massively exciting with what freshness and vitality this emerges from the blocks. The first hundred pages are a joy to read. Fabulous descriptive writing with lots of relatable insights into modern life. I liked its anger and humour a lot. There was a documentary on the BBC a while back that followed a few Indians who are on their way to protest at Standing Rock. I was sad I only got to spend an hour with them. They were all compelling individuals and I wanted more. The thing was though, the doc ...more
Ron Charles
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Toward the end of Tommy Orange’s devastating debut novel, a 4-year-old Native American boy keeps asking his grandma: “What are we? What are we?”

The boy has no way of knowing, but that’s a blood-soaked question that Western invaders have made Indians ask themselves for centuries. Exiled, dispersed, murdered, robbed, mocked, appropriated and erased, Native Americans have been forced to define themselves amid unrelenting assault. Their survival, their failure and their resilience in modern-day Amer
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing

If you haven’t heard of Tommy Orange yet, you soon will. This is one of those books that you're simultaneously dying to finish yet don't ever want to finish.

Orange paints a vivid picture in short chapters through different points of view as the story unfolds. The powwow becomes the centerpiece of the story with the dozen or so characters eventually heading toward it. The characters and their storylines drew me in and made me care, though not all are likable. I grew attached to a lot o
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: usa, 2018-nba, 2018-read
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2019 Finalist
Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award 2019
Winner of the NBCC John Leonard Prize 2018

Aaahhh, what a time to be a reader! First things first: Tommy Orange wrote a fantastic book, it is so strong, powerful, moving and enjoyable, and there's a whole bunch of people you will want to hit over the head with its wisdom (or with a physical copy of the book, for a start). Orange introduces us to more than a dozen Native Americans - men and women, young and old -, all of
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Tommy Orange’s first novel had some promise in the beginning. It looked like he had some interesting things to say and some heavy topics to discuss. He had a lot of characters to introduce and several stories to tell.

He had ideas, but he wasn’t able to effectively put them down on paper. There There just isn’t written very well. It’s pretty sloppy. It takes concepts other authors have pulled off in the past, throws them all out there together and hopes for the best. Hoped for the best. Didn’t r
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tommy Orange’s There There is simply amazing! Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but Orange’s multigenerational story of the urban Native American experience is unforgettable. There are 12 distinct voices shaping the story, but they all resonate and feel bound together and drive the narrative forward. Far from confusing the story, each voice adds depth, grief, history and hope. There is also a certain rhythm to these interweaving stories that made this a difficult book to put down; you want to get to the ...more
Powerful, heartbreaking, and absolutely necessary. In the age of #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, we cannot forget about the Native American population who have been criminally ignored. There There is specifically about the people considered 'Urban Indians': the generation born in the city as a result of both voluntary and involuntary relocation of their ancestors (Indian Relocation Act/Indian Termination Policy).
“Plenty of us are urban now. If not because we live in cities, then because we live o
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trish by: Andrea
This novel references Gertrude Stein’s comment about her memories of Oakland, CA, “there is no there there,” upon discovering her family home was taken down to accommodate an office park. I think the characters in this book would say it differently, that there is indeed something in Oakland, home of the fictional Big Oakland Powwow with which it concludes.

Distinct Indian voices tell a story about their lives, whatever they want to tell and not necessarily to an immediate point. Somehow it all co
Paula Kalin
The history, both past and current, of Native Americans is important, however, I just couldn’t connect with the characters.

3 out of 5 stars
j e w e l s
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Once again, I am at a loss for words--BECAUSE I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!! I was 100% invested in the characters and the story. I'm a closet Choctaw (meaning only that I am an enrolled member of the tribe, but not something I broadcast in my everyday life) and I was beyond excited to read a modern Indian story. Yes, as Orange points out, we refer to ourselves as Indian. It's okay. Don't hate on me.

Watch out for Tommy Orange. He is a young Native American writer and he has someth
” Sing it
Hey boy, give your dreams a rest
If you're tired of searching this is where it ends
There's nothing left to lose
Nothing to protest
Learn to love your anger now
Anger here is all you possess.
Welcome to the edge.

“Below the towers of the citadel
Seems someone overlooked the cost.
Forgotten soldier of Paradise
Now Paradise is lost.
Recognition never realized
Salvation lost among the crowd
So tell me here beside the sterile sea
Where is your nation now?”

--The Edge of America, Duran Duran, Songwriters:
Such an important, powerful novel written from the perspectives of 12 Native Americans living in Oakland, California. Through these 12 distinct narrators, Orange shows the heterogeneity within the Native American experience, as these characters face unique challenges ranging from substance dependence, feeling disconnected from one’s culture, a lack of self-worth and job prospects, and more. I loved how Orange addressed the past and ongoing genocide and displacement of Native Americans so head on ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"There There" is not simply a powerful and moving and deeply accomplished first novel: it is the sort of book that even the most veteran novelist hopes to achieve and rarely does. I loved each and every voice in this kaleidoscopic vision of Native life in Oakland today as a pow-wow nears. This is an intense and haunting and absolutely terrific book.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The novel is exceptional although it is very depressing. I'm not surprised There There has provoked so much discussion with regard to the plight of urban Native Americans trying to rediscover and understand their identity. There There is a definite food for thought!
Jessica Woodbury
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
In THERE THERE, Orange sets out his task from the beginning: he is going to write the stories of the urban Indian. These are not the stories of reservation life, they are not the stories of the old ways. These are the stories of conflict, of the search for identity, of struggle with poverty and addiction and loss, of family and community growing despite the concrete.

In these connected stories of Native Americans (Orange, like many Natives uses the term "Indian" throughout the book) living in Oa
Theresa Alan
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
“Some of us got this feeling stuck inside, all the time, like we’ve done something wrong. Like we ourselves are something wrong . . . We drink alcohol because it helps us feel like we can be ourselves and not be afraid. But we punish ourselves with it.”

I think my expectations going into this novel were too high. I’d read rave reviews and it was nominated for a National Book Award. Orange takes an unflinching look at the ways white folks have abused Native Americans for hundreds of years—and sho
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-author, favorites
Wow wow wow
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars ~I love reading novels structured around interconnected groups of characters, especially when the story gradually reveals their relationship with one another. So many glowing reviews are posted here on this website. But, for me there were too many voices to keep everyone straight in my mind. That had the effect of diminishing the impact of each character’s poignant narrative. In addition, the various family connections were so beyond coincidental and they felt contrived.

I wanted to lo
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Around the Year i...: There There, by Tommy Orange 6 38 Jun 01, 2019 11:20AM  

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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.
“If you were fortunate enough to be born into a family whose ancestors directly benefited from genocide and/or slavery, maybe you think the more you don’t know, the more innocent you can stay, which is a good incentive to not find out, to not look too deep, to walk carefully around the sleeping tiger. Look no further than your last name. Follow it back and you might find your line paved with gold, or beset with traps.” 55 likes
“The spider's web is a home and a trap.” 33 likes
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