By Tommy Orange
Knopf, 9780525520375, June 2018, 304pp.
The Short of It:
The writing in There There is so clear and authentic.
The Rest of It:
There There is one of those buzzy books that everyone is either reading or at least knows about. When it first came out, I immediately added it to my want list but didn’t actually read it until someone chose it for a discussion I was invited to.
The book begins with an essay on the portrayal of Native Americans over time. Orange then introduces his characters through what appears to be separate stories, unrelated to one another. But as you read on, you slowly realize that all of these characters intersect and ultimately end up at a powwow where a robbery goes terribly wrong.
Each story is utterly compelling. A young woman loses one baby at birth and years later is forced to give up another. A young man, trying to make a future for himself applies for a grant so he can set-up a story booth at a local powwow, Another woman leaves the man who is beating her for a future elsewhere. An infant is born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is forced to grow up with the effects of the “Drome”, his nickname for it. What they have in common is their Native American heritage.
Powerful and engaging. It’s refreshing to read something that feels new and different. If you haven’t read There There yet, you may want to move it up on your list.
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21 thoughts on “Review: There There”
This sounds like a must read!
Someone in my discussion group said it was perhaps too polished, like it was a result of a focused writer’s retreat. I can see that but polished is okay by me.
I actually started by listening to this one but now I think I would rather read it. It sounds very unique.
At first you may not like it because it really does seem as if non of the stories are related but they are. And it picks up pace quickly.
It’s been on my mind for a while!
I need to find time for this one… thanks, Ti!
Yes. I think it deserves all the buzz it’s getting.
A great follow up to that book is Killers ofnthe Flower Moon: The Osage Murders & The Birth of the FBI. Reads like a novel. Shocking that we didn’t know about it. That it’s not in our history books.
Oh!! Good suggestion. Taking note of it now.
I remember wanting to read this, but then reading the first few pages of it made me not want to read it. Sounds really good though. Glad you enjoyed it so much 🙂
Knowing what you read and what you like, you would enjoy this one.
Sounds powerful, your blog was the first place I heard about this one so thanks.
Really? It’s been mentioned all over. I thought I was the last to read it. I think it was in the Tournament of Books too.
I am currently in this book, but it is going slowly as I haven’t had much reading time this week. So far I like it.
I didn’t have much time when I read it either but then I just kept reading once I realized the stories were connected.
This sounds very interesting; the title, however, does nothing for me. I don’t know if I would have picked that up.
The title is explained in the story. I thought it was like, There, there, it will be okay. Nope.
I did like the audiobook of this novel. I got into many of the characters backstories, not all but many. There might have been a bit too many characters but still powerful. I was bummed by the story’s violent ending and just wanted these people to live & thrive from the powwow experience. I was hoping for a more positive end.
I don’t know much about guns but I had a hard time believing 3D printed guns could fire that many rounds. At the end, it certainly felt like a few characters too many. I couldn’t tell who was left without going back through the pages. Urban settings are typically not peaceful so I felt it was accurate in that regard.
This is the first review I have read that actually makes me consider reading the book. For some reason, the amount of buzz it received made me want never to read it.
The buzz is what kept me from reading it when it first came out. i was offered a review copy and turned it down. If I read it, I didn’t want to feel obligated to review it if I didn’t like it. But I have to say, it was different than what I expected, in a good way. Made for a really good discussion.