Books

There There

Tommy Orange's novel follows a number of different characters, all making their way to the same powwow.

Tommy Orange

Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame in Oakland. Dene Oxedrene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work the powwow and to honour his uncle's memory. Edwin Frank has come to find his true father. Bobby Big Medicine has come to drum the Grand Entry. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather; Orvil has taught himself Aboriginal dance through YouTube videos, and he has come to dance in public for the very first time. Tony Loneman is a young Native American boy whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Big Oakland Powwow with darker intentions. 

Tommy Orange's first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. A glorious, unforgettable debut. (From McClelland & Stewart)

From the book

The Drome first came to me in the mirror when I was six. Earlier that day my friend Mario, while hanging from the monkey bars in the sand park, said, "Why's your face look like that?"

I don't remember what I did. I still don't know. I remember smears of blood on the metal and the taste of metal in my mouth. I remember my grandma Maxine shaking my shoulders in the hall outside the principal's office, my eyes closed, her making this psshh sound she always makes when I try to explain myself and shouldn't. I remember her pulling my arm harder than she'd ever pulled it, then the quiet drive home.


From There There by Tommy Orange ©2018. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

Interviews

In an article for The Paris Review, Tsq'escen journalist Julian Brave NoiseCat says that we're entering a new Native renaissance. Writers like Tommy Orange, Terese Marie Mailhot and Billy-Ray Belcourt are just a few authors leading this new literary movement. 6:34
In his debut novel, Tommy Orange reveals a world not often explored, the lives of "urban Indians." There, There is set in Oakland, California and is told from the perspective of multiple characters in short episodic chapters. Ultimately, the connections between the characters are revealed when they converge at the Big Oakland Powwow. 16:56
In his debut novel, Tommy Orange paints a kaleidoscopic picture of what it means to exist as a Native American in a sprawling urban landscape. 16:17