As excitement builds for Tommy Orange’s second novel, Wandering Stars (coming Feb 27, 2024; HC, ebook, Large Print, CD, & Audio Download), we are taking a look—or rather a listen— back at the audio production of There There. Recorded in 2018, the audiobook production received praise for its authentic casting and effective storytelling, and was nominated for a 2019 Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance. Hear from PRH Sr. Executive Producer, Sarah Jaffe, who gave some insight into the production of this beloved audiobook:Did you have a clear vision from the beginning that this would be a multi-voice narration?
Sarah: “Absolutely. This explosive, gorgeously realized, utterly unique book is told by a kaleidoscopic range of voices, and it felt important that the audiobook stay true to the rich, clamorous sense of texture and vitality that’s so propulsive on the page, and capture the same messy, human window into a community pulsing with a wide variety of experiences, motivations, and perspectives that Tommy Orange has so beautifully crafted.”
What was the casting process like? How collaborative was it with the author?
It felt important to cast Native American actors for this recording, since that sense of identity is so central to the book, and I was thrilled to end up with the tremendously talented cast we did. I found out that Darrell Dennis is also a writer as well as an actor and performer, and his work touches on some of the same themes Tommy Orange’s does. Any time I can pair an incredible writer’s work with actors with whom it really resonates, I feel like it’s a producer slam-dunk: my role is to help good writing find its perfect conduit to reach listeners in the most richly expressed, pure, immediate way possible, and when the author and the narrator(s) are, for lack of a better term, on the same page (ugh, sorry), it creates something really special.”