“Orange’s debut is an ambitious meditation on identity and its broken alternatives, on myth filtered through the lens of time and poverty and urban life. Its many short chapters are told through a loosely connected group of Native Americans living in Oakland, Calif., as they travel to a powwow.”
Featured in New York Times’ Best Books of 2018.
“Tommy Orange begins his debut novel There There with an essay. He takes the iconic image of the Indian head, well-known from coins and late-night TV, and transforms it into a searing symbol of the mistreatment of Native Americans. It’s a devastating and brilliant piece of writing.”
Featured in NPR’s Best Books of 2018.
“This shattering debut by a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes pulls together divergent tales of modern-day Native Americans in and around Oakland, Calif., to examine the thorny issue of identity – and all the shame and pride it inspires.”
Featured in Washington Post’s Best Books of 2018.
There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange is the debut novel by Arapaho and Cheyenne author Tommy Orange. The novel explores the themes of Native Americans residing in urban areas and the identity crisis and existential crisis faced by the natives.
The novel opens with an essay penned by the author as a prologue describing short and compelling accounts describing the genocide and violence that Native Americans have suffered and how it has been purged over the centuries.
The focus on the author’s alternating storytelling is not to push the characters onto a solid plot line but to look at the myriad ways having an Indian identity and the pride that accompanies with the feeling of being an Indian.
It then veers towards fiction describing the cast of 12 Native American characters living in the area of Oakland, California. The novel switches between second and third person perspectives and details the trials and tribulations of the characters ranging from alcoholism, depression, fetal alcohol syndrome, unemployment, and the struggles of living with an ethnic identity.
The novel was featured in the New York Times Selection for Best 10 Books of the Year and New York Times Best-seller. There There reached the numero uno spot on the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-seller list and number eight position on The New York Times Best Seller list. The novel received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Booklist, among many others.