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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

"This is a novel about what it means to inhabit a land both yours and stolen from you, to simultaneously contend with the weight of belonging and unbelonging. There is an organic power to this book - a revelatory, controlled chaos. Tommy Orange writes the way a storm makes landfall." (Omar El Akkad, author of American War)

Tommy Orange's "groundbreaking, extraordinary" (The New York Times) There There is the "brilliant, propulsive" (People Magazine) story of 12 unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. It's "the year's most galvanizing debut novel" (Entertainment Weekly).

As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow - some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent - momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss. 

There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It's "masterful...white-hot...devastating" (The Washington Post) at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to pause. 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 is the book that everyone is talking about right now, and it's destined to be a classic.

©2018 Tommy Orange (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Masterful. White-hot. A devastating debut novel." (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

"A gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary debut!" (Margaret Atwood, via Twitter)

"Visceral... A chronicle of domestic violence, alcoholism, addiction, and pain, the book reveals the perseverance and spirit of the characters... Unflinching candor... Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning

The word, "stunning", is often used to denote, "good looking" person/art/attire. But here it means for me this shocking reality of the cruelty we humans can and do inflict on each other. First couple of chapters, my breath is withheld with the very early history lesson explained in the book; my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, ultimately shattered. Then, each character, of which there are many, hammers the reader with the inequalities and injustices that exist for all indigenous people, tho specifically native americans here. I'm reluctant to used even that term to identify. This is a harsh story of painful realities in my country and it's incredibly well written. This is not news for me but I grew up comfortable and white in a stable family, so I make it a point to peel back the layers with books like this one. It's powerful. It's provocative. It made me cry. The narrators were very good. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in relearning some American history and making sure they can see truth exposed.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A gorgeous, white-hot debut

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once gave a TED talk called “The Danger of the Single Story,” outlining the negative effects of reducing complex people and histories to the same narrow, well-worn narrative. I’m convinced that her heart will swell, like mine, at the arrival of Tommy Orange’s incendiary first novel. Written—and narrated—from the perspectives of many characters, whose lives intersect in unexpected and technically impressive ways, the connected stories pay profound attention to the individual experiences of urban Native Americans. And yet for all its depth of purpose and history, it’s absolutely un-put-downable. Visionary, mind-bendingly virtuosic, and racing to a searing finish, There Thereis a work of sacred intensity. I’m still reeling.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully compelling characters

It takes a while for the plot to come together. The stories of the individual characters keep you engaged until the pieces come together .

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Frances
  • Richmond, CA, United States
  • 06-26-18

Excellent. Want more.

The story of “urban Indians” has needed telling with all the complexities of love, hope and rising above incredible despair. I will look forward to more from this writer and the writers around him. Making the invisible visible without the regalia.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Indians in Oakland?

I didn’t even know that there is a Native American population in Oakland. That’s why I bought the Audible book. I enjoyed most of the stories, even if many of them are sad real world life struggle stories. The stories all come together at a Powwow in The Oakland Colosseum. I personally learned a lot about native cultures and struggles in The Bay Area and will look at it now with a different point of view.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

There There is a wonderful work of fiction that represents very real experiences in urban indigenous communities. Tommy Orange does an amazing job in his storytelling, creating characters who are so complex that they could each stand alone in a book of their own. I highly recommend this book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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draws you in and keeps you.

the imagery is beautiful amd gut wrenching. history is woven seamlessly with personal stories. breathtaking.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic! Couldn’t put it down

This was eye opening for me. I have heard about the problems in the native communities but did not appreciate its depth.
I really enjoyed each character’s insight, to be able to hear each one’s personal journey rather than the story told by one individual perspective was a treat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Powerful story

I really loved the storytelling and the characters in this book. It drew me in and I couldn’t stop thinking about Jackie and Tony and Blue after I stopped listening. Everyone should read this book, just be ready to cry and have your whole perspective shift.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful and Devastating

I had read so many positive reviews of this book and still put off reading or listening to it. I am so very glad I chose the audiobook. The performances are perfect. I felt like I was listening to old friends tell me stories about their lives and families. I will absolutely listen to this book again, it’s that good. Honest, heartbreaking, highly recommended.