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There There
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Archive: Other Books > There There by Tommy Orange - 5 stars

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Booknblues | 5501 comments An Urban Indian belongs to the city, and cities belong to the earth. Everything here is formed in relation to every other living and nonliving thing from the earth. All our relations. The process that brings anything to its current form—chemical, synthetic, technological, or otherwise—doesn’t make the product not a product of the living earth. Buildings, freeways, cars—are these not of the earth? Were they shipped in from Mars, the moon?

The title of the novel There There by Tommy Orange is borrowed from a quote by from a quote Gertrude Stein whose childhood home in Oakland was no longer there.
The quote is important to Dene. This there there. He hadn’t read Gertrude Stein beyond the quote. But for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it’s been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there.

Like Stein's home the novel is set in Oakland. It is a fast moving novel with a deep feeling of dread. We move from character to character learning a bit about them and their background stories and their connectivity. It reminds me a bit of the Altman movie Nashville or for a more recent movie, Crash. Some of the characters are unsavory and some are likeable and all are Native and coping with this to varying degrees.

The reader knows that there will be a Powwow at the Oakland Coliseum and that something major will be happening as all the characters are about to converge.

I loved this book and found it compelling and interesting. I recommend it with the note that some may find it a bit depressing and violent.


message 2: by Karin (new)

Karin | 6926 comments Thanks for the warning because the violence means I'll pass even though it sounds intriguing.


Booknblues | 5501 comments It is not terribly graphic and it is only in one part of the book.

But it is fairly dark.


message 4: by Karin (new)

Karin | 6926 comments Booknblues wrote: "It is not terribly graphic and it is only in one part of the book.

But it is fairly dark."


Yes, the dark is something I don't want.


message 5: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 2759 comments I like to pace myself when it comes to dark books. I know I will read this book. I pay attention to your 5 star recommendations. But I'll wait until I recover from the holocaust and medieval plague books that I've just finished.


Booknblues | 5501 comments Jgrace wrote: "I like to pace myself when it comes to dark books. I know I will read this book. I pay attention to your 5 star recommendations. But I'll wait until I recover from the holocaust and medieval plague..."

You need those good feeling books to cushion you when you read this.


Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Glad to see your review. Another good friend of mine gave it two stars so wasn't sure if I should read it or not. But I like dark so sounds like a yes.


Meli (melihooker) | 3148 comments 2 stars!? Wow, I wonder why...


Booknblues | 5501 comments Anita wrote: "Glad to see your review. Another good friend of mine gave it two stars so wasn't sure if I should read it or not. But I like dark so sounds like a yes."

It is dark , but I think it is realistic. It actually has something in it that came up on the news within the last few weeks.

I think the little snapshots of people is well done. it is a bit hard to keep track of everyone, but that is probably my problem.

I think you will like it.


Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Dark and realistic fiction is my favorite. Will definitely try to get to it this year.


message 11: by Meli (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meli (melihooker) | 3148 comments Booknblues,

I agree, keeping the characters straight, and especially their relationship to eachother and place in the community was difficult. Another reviewer recommended jotting down notes about each character so that helped me keep track.


Booknblues | 5501 comments Meli wrote: "Booknblues,

I agree, keeping the characters straight, and especially their relationship to eachother and place in the community was difficult. Another reviewer recommended jotting down notes abou..."


I didn't do that, but probably should have, just kept flipping back and forth.


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