A meal meant to symbolize "eternal friendship" caused two hundred Indians to die of an unknown poison. Nonchalantly stating an incident like this, Tommy Orange started his book, There There, which we are going to read in October. It's the story of indigenous folks in America, past and present. How they were betrayed, time and again, killed, punished, pushed aside with trivial excuses. Back in the old days, after killing a few Cherokees, their cut-off heads or hands were showed off as trophies or to raise money. Then, Hollywood came. From Mel Gibson to Kevin Costner to John Wayne tried to save the Indians from themselves, just like black-faced whites tried to save the blacks. How about today? Let's read There There and find out the complicated relationships between few Native American folks growing up in the city of Oakland, Calif and the meaning of home.
From NY Times' review: ".... In Tommy Orange's “There There,” an ambitious meditation on identity and its broken alternatives, on myth filtered through the lens of time and poverty and urban life, on tradition all the more pressing because of its fragility, it is as if he seeks to reconfigure Oakland as a locus of desire and dreams, to remake the city in the likeness of his large and fascinating set of characters."
"The title of his book comes from Gertrude Stein — who, one of the book’s characters discovers, “found that she was talking about how 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.”......"
Moreover, happy to announce that this book is the winner of the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award (https://pen.org/press-release/tommy-orange-wins-hemingway-award/) as well.
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