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Tommy Orange on His "There There" Sequel

Tommy Orange’s acclaimed debut novel, “There There” — one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2018 — centered on a group of characters who all converge on an Indigenous powwow in modern-day Oakland, Calif. His follow-up, “Wandering Stars,” is both a prequel and a sequel to that book, focusing specifically on the character Orvil Red Feather and tracing several generations of his family through the decades before and after the events of “There There.” 

This week, Orange visits the podcast to discuss “Wandering Stars” as well as the book he has read most in his life, Clarice Lispector's "The Hour of the Star." 

Orange explained how he decided to write a historical novel while sticking with the characters and story line from his earlier book.

“I got drawn in by this part of history because it was so specific to my tribe,” Orange says. “I don’t necessarily love reading historical fiction, but if it’s driven from the interior and it’s character driven, it’s compelling to me. So figuring out the types of humans they might have been or things they might have thought or felt, that was a way for me to try to figure out how to make them real. and that’s sometimes on a sentence level and sometimes on a, like, what are their motivations or what are they doing in their day-to-day lives? What do they want?”

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The world's top authors and critics join host Gilbert Cruz and editors at The New York Times Book Review to talk about the week's top books, what we're reading and what's going on in the literary world.Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at
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