Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* The at-first disconnected characters from whose perspectives Orange voices his symphonic debut are united by the upcoming Big Oakland Powwow. Some have been working on the event for months; some will sneak in with only good intentions, while others are plotting to steal the sizable cash prizes. Creative interludes from an omniscient narrator describe, for example, the names of First Nations people or what it means to be an Urban Indian: We ride buses, trains, and cars across, over, and under concrete plains. Being Indian has never been about returning to the land. The land is everywhere or nowhere. Opal recalls occupying Alcatraz as a child with her family; today she raises her sister's grandchildren as her own after their unspeakable loss. With grant support, Dene endeavors to complete the oral-history project his deceased uncle couldn't, recording the stories of Indians living in Oakland. In his thirties, with his white mother's blessing, Edwin reaches out to the Native father he never met. While anticipation of the powwow provides a baseline of suspense, the path Orange lights through these and his novel's many other stories thrills on its own. Engrossing at its most granular, in characters' thoughts and fleeting moments, There There introduces an exciting voice.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Orange's commanding debut chronicles contemporary Native Americans in Oakland, as their lives collide in the days leading up to the city's inaugural Big Oakland Powwow. Bouncing between voices and points of view, Orange introduces 12 characters, their plotlines hinging on things like 3-D-printed handguns and VR-controlled drones. Tony Loneman and Octavio Gomez see the powwow as an opportunity to pay off drug debts via a brazen robbery. Others, like Edwin Black and Orvil Red Feather, view the gathering as a way to connect with ancestry and, in Edwin's case, to meet his father for the first time. Blue, who was given up for adoption, travels to Oklahoma in an attempt to learn about her family, only to return to Oakland as the powwow's coordinator. Orvil's grandmother, Jacquie, who abandoned her family years earlier, reappears in the city with powwow emcee Harvey, whom she briefly dated when the duo lived on Alcatraz Island as adolescents. Time and again, the city is a magnet for these individuals. The propulsion of both the overall narrative and its players are breathtaking as Orange unpacks how decisions of the past mold the present, resulting in a haunting and gripping story. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Review by Library Journal Review
"[B]eing able to understand where we came from, what happened to our people, and how to honor them by living right, by telling our stories" could be goals for any community-but the words are especially resonant for debut novelist Orange's sprawling Native American cast: "the world is made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories." Most important, "we should never not tell our stories," a dying mother urges her daughter. Orange presents more than a dozen men, women, and children confronting broken families, socioeconomic entrapment, cultural erasure, and tenacious reclamation who initially seem to share little more than their Oakland setting. Their Native connections will link their stories as Orange-of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma-moves each toward the Big Oakland Powwow, an epic, explosive event that will both reunite and destroy. Narrator Darrell Dennis, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Kyla García, and Alma Cuervo help to keep characters distinct; that all but Cuervo identity as Native American/First Nations undoubtedly enhances their nuanced performances. -VERDICT While bearing witness to history (his piercing preface fiercely encapsulates a half-millennium of Native experiences), Orange commands urgent, immediate attention in this masterly montage of voices, lives, visions, tragedies, and dreams. ["A broad sweep of lives of Native American people in Oakland and beyond": LJ 4/1/18 starred review of the Knopf hc; a June LibraryReads pick.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian -BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.