There ThereBook - 2018
From Library Staff
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 ... Read More »
With its title presaging an examination of Gertrude Stein's reflections on Oakland,
Tommy Orange's debut novel opens with a ten page blast from the Native American past that contextualizes its revelatory portraits of twelve urban Native Americans whose destinies converge in a tragic conclusion. -... Read More »
From the critics
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"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
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.
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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.
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