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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

There, There by Tommy Orange

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

This is a best seller - Tommy Orange does not need my review. However, if I'm going to review lesser known and unknown authors, that should be done with a sound basis for comparison. So I'll be doing this kind of review, too.

There There by Tommy Orange

The Prologue makes it clear this is a political novel about being Native American and drew me into the book with a native perspective of history. There is no table of contents, but as I read I realized each chapter is named for the primary character within it.

All through Part I: Remain, these are individuals with no discernible connection, though from the first chapter it is hinted that they will come together tragically in the end.

Part II: Reclaim introduces more characters and has a couple return. I started wanting a family tree sort of aide to keeping track of the connections between people.

Part III: Return introduces still more characters and I was really struggling to understand how they connected with the other characters, or if they did beyond the violence I was sure was coming.

Part IV: Powwow is the climatic ending first hinted at in the beginning.

While each chapter was well-written and brought me into the life of that character at that point in time, because of the number of characters and my confusion over how who was connected to whom, I was not truly emotionally invested in any of them beyond their chapter(s). That reduced the emotional impact of the ending.

However, that feeling of disconnection while longing for connection was shared with the characters, and may well have been the author's intent.

That makes the novel well worth reading.


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