Episode 58 - Brandon Hobson
Brandon Hobson is an award-winning author who's setting out to change how the world sees Native literature. He's an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma who writes about Native issues and how the past connects to the present.
His novel, The Removed, is a hauntingly beautiful book about grief and intergenerational trauma.It's one of those books that after you read it once you immediately want to read it again because you know there are things you may have missed the first time.
The Removed is about the Echotas, a Cherokee family living in Oklahoma that is grieving the death of their oldest child. Ray-Ray was shot and killed by a white police officer who had been called to break up a disturbance among a group of teenagers. During the incident, a white teen pulls a gun, but it's Ray-Ray the officer aims at and shoots.
The novel opens as the family is preparing to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Ray-Ray's death, which coincides with the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma in 1839, following the forced removal of the Cherokee and four other tribes from the southeastern U.S. to Oklahoma in what’s known as the Trail of Tears.
The trauma of the trail looms large in the novel. An ancestor who experienced the tragedy is one of the main characters. This novel leaves you with so much to think about. I enjoyed talking to Brandon about his work and the issues it raises about grief and the effect of past traumatic events. We chatted virtually from his home in New Mexico ahead of his virtual appearance at this year's Miami Book Fair.
- How a true story about a fatal shooting haunted him and led to this story
- Why he wanted to write a "trippy" novel
- How questions about spirituality and the impact of dementia influenced his work
During the show, Brandon mentioned a popular author he's never been that into. The first listener to contact us on Twitter or Facebook with the right answer will win a free copy of The Removed.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible. If you and I ever rode out a hurricane together at work, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan, but we'll always have those memories of cold, newsroom pizza.