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Tommy Orange Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Anthologies

Bodies Built for Game(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Freeman's. Amore(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Know What’s Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fourteen Days: An Unauthorized Gathering(2024)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Cage Went in Search of a Bird: Ten Kafkaesque Stories(2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tommy Orange is a part white part Native American author that writes fiction which explores the lives of Native American protagonists living in urban settings.

Tommy Orange was born to Victor Orange and Janet Lafaille in Oakland, California. By the time his first novel was published in 2018, Tommy had become a recognized author, sought after for his keen insight into White and Native American history and culture.

Tommy made a few waves in 2017 when his article in the Los Angeles Times attacked the ideals of the Thanksgiving tradition. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, for all the recognition the author has accumulated for his literary efforts, the fact that Tommy wasn’t a reader or even a writer as a child often comes as a surprise.

Tommy remembers being drawn to music. He had a preference for pianos and guitars and he believes his musical instincts contributed to the eventual development of his writing style.

But even in college, Tommy Orange never strayed far from music, which might explain why he eventually proceeded to acquire a Science Degree in the Sound Arts; a certification he admits wasn’t particularly practical.

It wasn’t long after that the author secured a job at a bookstore. His future did not look particularly bright at the time, and Tommy might have despaired if his new job hadn’t allowed him to discover his love for reading.

Tommy started out in nonfiction. At the time, the Native American author was looking for meaning in life. So he read every religious and philosophical volume he could locate. Over time, his attention was drawn to the fiction titles in the bookstore.

And once he discovered the likes of Kafka, Clarice Lispector, and Sylvia Plath, Tommy Orange realized that he had finally found the one component of life he had been sorely missing.

He doesn’t really know how writing came into the picture. He just remembers waking up one day and realizing that he had begun to write with regular, practically obsessive frequency.

‘There There’, the book that Tommy eventually wrote tells a multigenerational story about the trials of Native American people living in Urban settings. Tommy wrote the novel because he realized that the representation of Native American people in literature was sorely lacking.

And even though people like him had made a few scattered appearances in fiction and nonfiction over the years, Tommy was yet to come across a book that tackled the plight of his people in cities and towns.

So the author had no doubt that there was a hunger for his novel on the publishing landscape. Tommy Orange has admitted to basing a lot of the stories he writes on his own personal experiences.

Even as a child, the author struggled to find a sense of belonging because of his part Native American part White heritage. He was part of two groups of people who had warred with each other for so long and so brutally that Tommy was never certain as to which tribe he should associate.

Ultimately, the author learned to identify as a Native American, but only because he was raised as one. No effort was made to draw Tommy towards his white heritage, so he admits that once he matured, it wasn’t quite as difficult for him to find his place in society.

That being said, the author knows that some of his readers were not quite as lucky and he attempts to explore those aspects of their plight with which even he might be unfamiliar.

The author has come quite a long way since he got that job in that particular bookstore. Tommy attended the Institute of American Indian Arts from where he got his MFA. The achievement opened the way for the author to secure a position in IAIA as an MFA program Fiction writing teacher.

Tommy Orange would like to think that he’s a diverse author. He has his sights set on delivering a wide variety of fiction. This is on top of the essays and short stories he produces. But for all his determination to expand his literary horizons, it is for his Native American literature that Tommy is best known.

His fans have praised his ability to aptly capture the essence of life for a Native American in an urban setting. For various critics, his debut novel was revolutionary when it was first released.

‘There There’ was published by Alfred A. Knopf. They acquired it through an auction. Tommy Orange believes his work is vital because Native American people are often on the brink of being forgotten.

If people like Tommy do not bring their experiences to the printed page, then Tommy does not doubt that his kind will eventually be erased from the social consciousness.

+There There
The Big Oakland Powwow tends to attract a wide assortment of individuals; individuals such as Jacquie Red Feather. Jacquie and Opal are siblings.

As children, they were close, learning to depend on one another in the wake of the uncertainty of those times. But adulthood changed all that. Jacquie and Opal went their separate ways, even though they never stopped thinking about one another.

By the time Jacquie makes her way to the cultural celebrations, she is on the verge of finally beating her drinking habit and possibly even reuniting with her family. She has no idea what surprises await her at the Powwow, this including Dene, a fellow who hopes to honor his dead uncle through his collection of stories, Edwin who desires greatly to locate his father, and Opal who cannot wait to see her boy dance.

Out of the lot, Tony Loneman is the one person that has descended on the Powwow with dark intentions on his mind.

‘There There’ is Tommy Orange’s debut novel. The book breaks away from the tradition of the average Native American fiction novel by ignoring the stories of reservation life and the old ways in favor of an exploration of the Indian American Urban life.

The Native American characters in this book are just people; lost, confused and in search of meaning and purpose.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tommy Orange

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