By Tommy Orange, Harvill Secker, £12.99
It sounds pretentious to say a book is important, but There, There by Tommy Orange, his debut novel, is, dumbfoundingly important.
A pow-wow is coming up in Oakland, California, and there’s a lot of money to be made. Time flits and flurries, as Orange builds up the months and years before the event, with each chapter hinging on a different character.
He shares their histories, their troubles and the way they individually intersect with their Native American heritage.
There’s Blue, trying to find a way back to her grandsons, Octavio learning to dance like his ancestors via YouTube, Tony, whose face reveals the foetal alcohol syndrome, his mother’s legacy.
The book grapples with the impact of alcoholism, gang violence, rape, domestic abuse, obesity, technology, absent parents, loss and grief, but that makes it sound soul-destroying.
It’s not: it’s magnificent and something of a masterpiece.