There There by Tommy Orange 

Aug 21, 2018 by

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, such I’ve not read but in a few works ever in my life.

There There

There There by Tommy Orange is one of the most profound books I’ve ever read.

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. And the stories are rich and real. Life is harsh and the book provides a vision of lives most would never even know exist. I certainly did not realize the struggles characterized in the book. The novel was an eye-opener. The beauty in it lies in that this isn’t a story only for the Native American soul. It is something that matters to the soul in all of us.

Tommy Orange has written a very great book.

Quotes from the Book 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

…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

She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories. pg 58

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 the 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. 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

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

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

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