The Mayor’s Office and the Philadelphia Free Library have selected Tommy Orange’s 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist “There, There” as the book recommended for reading by city residents for the coming year. The book, Orange’s first novel, is billed as “a comic vision haunted by profound sadness” by critic Louise Erdrich. It features the views of a dozen local characters facing change and challenge in Oakland, California, an urban society facing many of the problems of Philadelphia.
Southwest residents may recall, for instance, that Oakland was the site of a recent massive gentrification movement. A stable, predominantly African American community was massively and rapidly pushed out of their homes and businesses when their city became attractive to up-scale developers. Within 10 years only 10 percent of the previous Black residents remained from where their homes and families were previously located.
According to the promotional statement, the book describes urban living against a backdrop of sacred traditions and historical violence in the West Coast metropolis.
Readers can check out an ebook, audiobook, or paperback copy from their Free Library branch.
Young readers will join the conversation with the youth companion books If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (middle grade) and When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett (children’s).
Tommy Orange is slated to visit the Parkway Central Library on January 22, to kick off eight weeks of One Book programming!
Information from a 10/17/19 release from the Mayor’s Office.