Best Prologue Ever

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There There

Tommy Orange

Hardcover, 280 pages.

Why is this the best prologue I’ve ever read? For starters, it cuts to the bone. It isn’t a pleasant read. The history is damning and the parables are disturbing. Mostly, the prologue condemns my tacit compliance.

And then I laughed at my own childhood delusions. I watched Dances With Wolves a hundred times on VHS. Mr. Orange points out that Indians don’t need Kevin Costner to save them. It’s amazing how films can influence us. I’ve always loved that movie for its melodrama and beauty, but its still just a Hollywood history.

The Prologue ends with “Urbanity.” Mr. Orange writes:

Urban Indians were the generation born in the city. We’ve been moving for a long time, but the land moves with you like memory…We know the sound of the freeway better than we do rivers, the howl of distant trains better than wolf howls, we know the smell of gas and freshly wet concrete and burned rubber…Everything is new and doomed.

A beautiful novel grows out of this Prologue. I suggest you check it out.

Sample from There There.