Dr. Brandon Hobson is the author The Removed, as well as the novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, winner of the Reading the West Award, and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. He has won a Pushcart Prize, and his fiction has appeared in such places as McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, NOON, and elsewhere. Hobson is an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University and also teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma. Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a startling, authentically voiced and lyrically written Native American coming-of-age story.
Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, The Removed is about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago. In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer’s in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation. Drawing deeply on Cherokee folklore, The Removed seamlessly blends the real and spiritual to excavate the deep reverberations of trauma—a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories on both a personal and ancestral level.