by Tommy Orange
Open Books--Open Minds common book
“With a literary authority rare in a debut novel, it places Native American voices front and center before readers’ eyes.” —NPR/Fresh Air
“Mr. Orange’s sparkling debut is not merely a literary triumph but a cultural and political one, too. It is a work of defiance and recovery.” —The Economist
“Orange’s book is truly a page turner filled with multi-generational accounts of violence, recovery, memory, identity, beauty, and even a little despair. It’s a book where you as the reader can’t put down until you finish it with both a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of anticipation of what could happen next.” —Lakota Country Times
From the publisher:
"Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering 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. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable."
This map of relationships between characters in There There was created by Dr. Sue Abbotson, Professor in Department of English at RIC.