There There by Tommy Orange.
There There by Tommy Orange is one of those profound books that only come along once in a long while.
This is a book that should be considered for a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.
It offers such dramatic insight into the human soul the likes I’ve read in but a few works ever in my life.
The There There Story.
The story itself tracks several Native American characters as they eventually make their way through life to rendezvous at a pow-wow in Oakland, California in modern times.
They’re off the reservation, urban Indians, struggling with their past, struggling with their present and futures all rolled into one.
Tommy Orange provides a rich, real, and fulfilling story.
The harsh life of Native American history.
For all of us, life often becomes harsh.
There There provides insight into the lives most would never know exist.
This book opened my eyes to the struggles characterized in Orange’s writing.
The beauty in this novel lies in how the tapestry of words applies to more than the Native American soul.
There There rips away the scab covering the soul in us all.
Henceforth think, of Tommy Orange; author of a monumental great American novel.
Quotes from There There by Tommy Orange.
We stayed because the city sounds like a war, and you can’t leave a war once you’ve been, you can only keep it at bay–which is easier when you can see and hear it near you, the fast metal, that constant firing around you, cars up and down the streets and freeways like bullets. pg 9
…nothing is original, everything comes from something that came before, which was once nothing. Everything is new and doomed. pg 11
“We don’t have time, Nephew, time has us. It holds us in its mouth like an owl holds a field mouse. We shiver. We struggle. for release, and then it pecks out our eyes and intestines for sustenance and we die the death of field mice.” pg 36
No There There anymore.
…the place where she’d grown up in Oakland had changed so much, that so much development had happened there, that the there of her childhood, the there there, was gone there was no there there anymore.” pg 38-9
But for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it’s been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there. pg 39
‘Stories and stories about stories.’
She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories. pg 58
‘…A mean curveball thrown by … a steroid-fueled kid pitcher.’
Even the old people in charge, they’re acting like kids. There’s no more scope, no vision, no depth. We want it now and we want it new. This world is a mean curveball thrown by an overly excited, steroid-fueled kid pitcher, who has no more cares about the integrity of the game than he does about the Costa Ricans who painstakingly stitch the balls together by hand. pg 82-3
Being bipolar is like having an axe to grind with an ax you need to split the wood to keep you warm in a cold dark forest you only might eventually realize you’ll never make your way out of. pg 88
‘You can’t sell life is okay when it’s not.’
You can’t sell life is okay when it’s not. pg 98
When we see that the story is the way we live our lives, only then can we start to change, a day at a time. pg 112
Jacquie can’t remember a day going by when at some point she hadn’t wished she could burn her life down. pg 152
The essence of secrets and shame.
Secrets lie through omission just like shame lies through secrecy. pg 165
The poor dog was probably just trying to spread the weight of its own abuse. pg 170
To get injured and not recover is a sign of weakness. pg 214
Most addictions aren’t premeditated. You slept better. Drinking felt good. But mostly, if there was any real reason you could pinpoint, it was because of your skin. pg 217
Speaking the broken tongue of angels and demons.
Maybe we’ve all been speaking the broken tongue of angels and demons too long to know that that’s what we are, who we are, what we’re speaking. Maybe we don’t ever die but change, always in the State without hardly ever even knowing that we’re in it. pg 224
Places Featured in There There by Tommy Orange.
Oakland, CA, USA
Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Phoenix, AZ, USA