Our meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, using Zoom. You can join this Zoom session via computer or phone. Email Cathe Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions; register online here.
There There by Tommy Orange
“One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year in 2018, and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering bestselling 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. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history in a first novel that is poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.” – from the publisher
There There was one of three finalists for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
Publisher’s Weekly commented: “Orange’s commanding debut chronicles contemporary Native Americans in Oakland, as their lives collide in the days leading up to the city’s inaugural Big Oakland Powwow…The propulsion of the narrative and its players are breathtaking as Orange unpacks how decisions of the past mold the present, resulting in a haunting and gripping story.”
Writing for NPR, Maureen Corrigan noted that “There There is distinguished not only by Orange’s crackling style, but by its unusual subject. This is a novel about urban Indians, about native peoples who know, as he says, “the sound of the freeway better than [they] do rivers … the smell of gas and freshly wet concrete and burned rubber better than [they] do the smell of cedar or sage…” There There has a literary authority rare in a debut novel, and it places Native American voices front and center before readers’ eyes.”
Novelist Louise Erdrich, who is herself a Native American and mentioned in the novel, welcomed “a brilliant and generous artist who has already enlarged the landscape of American fiction. There There is a comic vision haunted by profound sadness. Tommy Orange is a new writer with an old heart.”
Tommy Orange was born in Oakland, California in 1982, and is enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations of Oklahoma. He has a bachelor’s degree in audio engineering, and an MFA from Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts. A job in a bookstore after college led to an awakened interest in reading, and eventually to his first novel. He still lives in the Bay Area with his family, and is currently at work on a sequel to There There.
Click here to watch Tommy Orange in conversation during a program at the Oakland Public Library, originally presented in November 2019.
May 11, Second Tuesday Book Club at 7 p.m.
Join a live discussion of our May title, Tommy Orange’s There There on Zoom.