Brandon Hobson

Critically Acclaimed Novelist
National Book Award Finalist
Travels from: El Paso, TX

“Extraordinary…. Pulling out all the stops, [Hobson’s] carved a striking new benchmark for fiction about Native Americans.” – Los Angeles Times

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.

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The Removed

Ecco |
Novel

Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago—from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson

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.

With the family’s annual bonfire approaching—an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray’s death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory—Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest’s mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite—or perhaps because of—his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo.

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.

The Removed is a marvel. With a few sly gestures, a humble array of piercingly real characters and an apparently effortless swing into the dire dreamlife, Brandon Hobson delivers an act of regeneration and solace. You won’t forget it.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of The Feral Detective

Where the Dead Sit Talking

Soho Press |
Novel

Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a stunning and lyrical Native American coming-of-age story.

With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his mother’s years of substance abuse, Sequoyah keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface. At least until he meets seventeen-year-old Rosemary, a troubled artist who also lives with the family.

Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American background and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah’s feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.

Social Work in the Novel

The Foster Care System

Native American Issues in Literature

RURAL GOTHIC, CONJURING IMAGES WITH NOVELIST BRANDON HOBSON

BRANDON HOBSON (AUTHOR OF WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING) AT THE FYE® CONFERENCE 2020

BRANDON HOBSON, FICTION FINALIST, READS FROM “WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING” AT 2018 NBA AWARDS FIN READ

Brandon’s Selected Publications

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Book Award Finalist
Guggenheim Fellow
Western Heritage Award Winner

 

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