There There by Tommy Orange
"A work of defiance and recovery" (The Economist) that "begs to be read more than once" (Santa Fe New Mexican), Tommy Orange's groundbreaking novel was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.
There There is a polyphonic epic told in the voices of 12 Native characters headed to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather, a substance abuse counselor in recovery, is attempting to reconnect with her family; Dene Oxendene, a young documentary filmmaker, is gathering stories to honor his uncle's memory; and Tony Loneman, an MF Doom fan born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which he calls "The Drome," has been recruited to help with a powwow robbery.
There is Octavio Gomez, who is grieving the loss of his family; Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield, a veteran of the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz who has come to the powwow to watch her nephew, Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos; and Edwin Black, a biracial Native American literature scholar who lands an internship with the powwow committee, where he meets Blue, who has just escaped from her dangerously abusive husband.
The characters' lives intertwine across the city of Oakland, California, and ultimately converge in scenes of heart-stopping violence and loving heroism.
In The Paris Review, Julian Brave NoiseCat writes that Tommy Orange is part of a "new Native Renaissance," saying: "What is perhaps most exciting about Orange and his peers is that they are unafraid to break old molds of theme, style and structure handed down by the earlier generations' greatest Indian hits. Orange's book is set in the city, eliding the reservation dispatches that have dominated Native fiction over the decades. Today, more than seven out of ten Native people live in cities. With There There, Native lit is catching-up to demographic reality."