This book by Tommy Orange had been catching my eye recently – very recently it was only released this month (6/2018). I just had some space and picked it up and read it – well … downloaded it and read it. Native American Lit fascinates me – from Louise Erdrich to Sherman Alexie and many others, Leslie Silko,
The story is one of Native Americans in urban America, Oakland to be exact, so it’s not a nostalgia piece. It’s about life for natives in the big anonymous, drug and violence infested big city – lives of loss and grief and the desire/need to escape.
by Tommy Orange
2018 / 304 pages (Kindle)
rating – 9 / contemp US fiction – Native American
A pow-wow is being planned to take place in Oakland, California current day and a number of people are looking forward to it, planning the event itself or planning to go. Some live quite near, others are coming from a distance. Some know each other, some don’t. They are very different from each other in some ways but very much alike in others.
“Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time.
And there are others, 12 in all. wonderfully drawn and detailed characters populating this book, a debut novel.
So much pain with touches of joy and a lot of love and grief thrown in. The past is prologue.