There There by Tommy Orange
If Margaret Atwood says a book is astonishing, I am going to have to read it. And indeed, that’s exactly what There There by Tommy Orange is. It really is astonishingly good.
Set in Oakland, California, Orange’s home town, the novel focuses on a group of twelve Native Americans, in the build up to a pow wow. He provides a cast of characters at the beginning before throwing us into the deep end with a prologue that I can only describe as one that grabbed me by the gut. 500 years of Native American history, masterfully portrayed in just a few pages.
This book is not an easy read. From chapter one, we know that something dark is going to happen and it hangs in the air for the rest of the book until it does. But still, it is a majestic read too. Not only has Orange created characters that are complex, distinct and powerful (Opal, woah!), he has also shed light on the way in which an entire group of people has all too often been perceived as well as how they perceive themselves. Identity lies at the centre of Here Here and at the centre of these characters’ lives and stories.
It’s hard to believe that There There is a debut. Striking that beautiful chord of being both literary and accessible, thinking about it now I reckon it’s probably the most important Friday favourite I’ve chosen since we started ~ S
Order your copy here.