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The Participant Observer International Book of the Month is There There: A Novel
There There is a new kind of American epic that explores the breadth of modern Native American life. In Tommy Orange's debut novel, the stories of twelve unforgettable characters, urban Indians living Oakland, California, converge and collide on one fateful day while attending the Big Oakland Powwow. As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the powwow, momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. There will be glorious communion and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. There will also be sacrifice, heroism, and loss.
There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It's devastating at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. Here is a voice we have never heard - a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. Tommy Orange has written a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. This book is destined to be a classic. (La Jolla/Riford Library)
Tommy Orange is a member of the faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.
Long-listed for the National Book Awards 2018
Nominated for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
optimism that lingers after finishing the book. Fragile and flawed though this hope might be, it remains moving and powerful, just like the rest of Orange's impressive achievement. - The Guardian
The variety of the characters responses to the powwow — some deeply spiritual, others wholly amoral — demonstrates the diversity of a group of people too often lumped together under a wooden stereotype. - The Washington Post
Here's the thing about There There, the debut novel by Native American author Tommy Orange: Even if the rest of its story were just so-so — and it's much more than that — the novel's prologue would make this book worth reading. -- NPR