Wandering Stars

## A Haunting Constellation: A Review of “Wandering Stars” by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s “Wandering Stars” is a powerful and poignant novel that delves into the enduring legacy of historical trauma on a Native American family. Weaving together past and present, the narrative explores the ripple effects of the Sand Creek Massacre and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School across generations.

**Intertwined Narratives:** Orange masterfully crafts a tapestry of voices, each character battling their own demons and searching for solace. From Star, a survivor of the massacre, to his son Charles, forced to assimilate at Carlisle, and their descendants grappling with addiction and identity, the novel paints a multi-layered portrait of resilience and pain.

**Enduring Impact of Trauma:** The book unflinchingly explores the lasting impact of historical injustices. The characters grapple with the loss of their culture, language, and connection to ancestral lands. Orange doesn’t shy away from portraying the destructive cycles of addiction and violence that often stem from this generational trauma.

**Hope Amidst Hardship:** While the novel doesn’t shy away from difficult themes, it also offers glimmers of hope. The characters find solace in community, storytelling, and rediscovering their heritage. The journey is fraught with challenges, but there’s a persistent yearning for healing and connection.

**Strengths:** Orange’s prose is lyrical and evocative, transporting the reader into the characters’ hearts and minds. The narrative structure, jumping seamlessly between timelines and perspectives, keeps the reader engaged and invested in the characters’ fates.

**Criticisms:** The non-linear narrative might prove challenging for some readers seeking a more traditional structure. Additionally, the bleak portrayal of certain characters’ struggles might be emotionally challenging for some audiences.

**Overall:** “Wandering Stars” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that sheds light on the complex history and ongoing struggles faced by many Native American communities. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in exploring themes of historical trauma, resilience, and the enduring search for identity.

**Recommendation:** Highly recommended for readers who enjoy literary fiction, historical novels, and stories about family, community, and overcoming adversity.