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The Removed

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  10,905 ratings  ·  1,731 reviews
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 on
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Ecco
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  10,905 ratings  ·  1,731 reviews

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Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. I like how Cherokee myths and stories, some real and some invented, work in parallel with the stories of the Echota family. Though the ending is somewhat ambiguous, it still is a satisfying, intelligent, and moving. Lots to think about. All the characters are interesting but I was particularly invested in Sonja, Wyatt, Tsala, and Maria. Anyway, read this book.
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is incredible! No words are enough to define how much I enjoy this book! I plan to read it more than once and I want to buy it for my friends! Maybe it’s too early to announce but I’m so sure it already took its dedicated place for best 5 fictions of 2021! I recommend it to the readers who missed the extraordinary taste of literature!
It’s a great waltz between Cherokee myths, history and magical realism, delightful allegations. You read the story of broken family with so many beautiful tal
Lisa of Troy
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Check out my 1 minute spoiler-free video review here:

This is the story of the Echota family who lost their teenage son, Ray-Ray, who died 15 years ago at the hands of the police. The father, Ernest, is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s while daughter Sonja has been in an obsessive relationship and surviving son, Edgar, is struggling with a severe drug addiction. In the midst of this, the Echota family begins to foster a young boy as they prepare for
Elyse Walters
Update.... changing my rating to three stars. I’ve been thinking about this book still --a lot!
There are still some things that bothered me —
my own little pet peeves—-
But if I’m still thinking about it 'this' much - [which I am]—-there’s more positives than I credited.

3 stars for this update >> who knows maybe next week will go up to 4 stars --lol (ok, lets not get 'too' carried away) >..yet!

The first part was yesterday...
Second part follows...

Audiobook... read by a cast of
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

An intriguing premise, centering around a long-suffering Cherokee family, is undone by bland and repetitive prose, muddled mythology, underdeveloped themes, and plot points that are, frankly, too far Removed from plausibility to take seriously. From the outset, Hobson's themes are undercooked: It all begins with the actions of a racist, trigger-happy cop, which is certainly a timely and provocative issue; but ultimately it's a mere attention-grabber that has no real bearing on much of t

”I’m building a monster,” Edgar told him excitedly. He held up his Lego creature and roared.
”Little brother,” Ray-Ray said, “there are enough monsters in this world.”

Set in Oklahoma, members of the Echota family share the story of Ray-Ray, and of the day he was shot, and killed, by a policeman. There is an annual commemoration of the life of that young man, a life that was taken too soon, brutally, and seemingly without reason, and this year marks the fifteenth year after his death. A foster
"How do you lose a child to gun violence and expect to return to a normal way of life?"

That is the question that runs through this novel, and, as you can imagine, there's no good answer to it. The Removed follows the Echota family, fifteen years after the devastating death of their son, Ray-Ray, who is shot by a white police officer for no good reason. Justice is never done, and they are forced to carry on in their new reality. Maria, his mother, probably finds the best way to cope, but she is u
Aug 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was difficult for me to rate, and actually I had to read quite a few reviews before settling on this. I came to realize that the aspects I didn’t like about this book were actually the characters themselves & not the storytelling like I’d initially assumed.

That being said, I think it’s still important to push through if the writing style didn’t initially suit you. I almost gave up at 20%, but truly I believe it’s because I forget that not all stories need goals or reason like western cu
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Suddenly a giant eagle, bigger than the boy, landed in front of him. The eagle spread its wings, then turned into a man with long silver hair. The man approached the boy and told him not to fear what we saw. "Their suffering is for you," he told him. "Now go home."
"How do I go home?" the boy asked.
"I’ll take you," the man said. Then he turned back into an eagle and he told the boy to climb on his back. Carefully, the boy climbed on, and the flew westward into the pale sky.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story is about a Cherokee family in Oklahoma, who fifteen yrs prior, lost their oldest son Ray-Ray when he was killed unjustly by a police officer.
The parents and two remaining adult children are planning to come together for a yearly bonfire where they share memories of him.
We see the grief of each family member, and how their lives have been since Ray-Ray’s death.
Quite a hauntingly beautiful book!

Thank you to Netgalley and Ecco for this ARC!
This is a DNF at 35% for me. I’m a firm believer that at this point if I’m not into it, it’s not going to happen. No
Issues with the writing and in fact I love Native American Lit and folklore, but the story didn’t engage me. Just a “not for me.”
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes loss and grief feels like a hollow pit nestled in the deepest part of yourself. What is it then, that allows us to go on, to heal, after so much pain in our lives and for the ancestors before us? What is to be done with this inherited colonial trauma.

The Removed by Cherokee author Brandon Hobson, for myself, was an exploration of grief and ancestral bonds. A beautiful mix of Cherokee language, storytelling & history told through interwoven perspectives alongside symbolism and imagery.
Jan 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is an exceptionally well written, wonderful novel.

I’m a little disconcerted by all the lukewarm reviews and I’m usually on the other side of this argument. Frequently I am the grumpy curmudgeon who likes but doesn’t love a very popular book. Here I am looking for accolades that I feel Brandon Hobson deserves and cannot find enough.

Fifteen years earlier, the Echota family lost their charismatic teenage son to a police officer’s errant bullet. Though cleared of wrongdoing, the actions of the
Traci Thomas
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a very well written book. The story was sort of haunting. Ancestral trauma interacting with personal/familial trauma. Very creative in the way the spirits of ancestors interact in our world. Magical realism woven in as well. It lacked plot which I always like in my novels, though there was more action toward the end.
Jenny Lawson
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book lingered with me. I don't think I always understood it but the parts I did were haunting and beautiful. ...more
"Remember your ancestors," he told me. "Remember they were removed from their homes, and then they had no homes. They walked the Trail, walked and crawled and died. They suffered."

Truth be told: The Removed tossed me about like a leaf in the wind. It crushed me under foot and it frustrated me with its disjointed storyline, irregular insertions of realism and fantasy, characters so disconnected from one another, and references to individuals who stood on the peripheral encased in foggy details.

Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Contemporary fiction at its best, The Removed gave me exactly what I wanted and more.

Going into The Removed I was expecting a story full of vengeful characters considering all of their tragic backgrounds, but it is the exact opposite of that. While it would be nearly impossible to forgive the murderer of one of your loved ones, Brandon Hobson takes a different approach which I really enjoyed.

While we get a lot of talk about grief and family we also read about the different perspectives from Ray
The Echota family has lost one of their sons, Ray-Ray to police brutality. He is shot at a mall after getting in a scuffle with two White boys. The police officer hears what he thinks is a gunshot and takes aim and fatally shoots Ray-Ray. He did not have a gun. He was the victim of the attack.

Every year on the anniversary of his death the family holds a bonfire to honor his memory. The Removed takes place in the days preceding the 15th anniversary. The story is told from the perspectives of Ray-
DNF at 18%.
I initially saw this book on a recommendations list of Indigenous fiction, and thought that it was right up my alley. So I requested it from the library, and then waited about a month for it... I started it last night after needing a change from my other reading, and now I'm DNFing it.

I am not liking the characters, or the writing, or the dialogue, or the audiobook readers who voice the characters. And considering that I was already dealing with all of those frustrations in the othe
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Brandon Hobson pulls the reader into this story about a family through multiple narrators, including an ancestor, dreams, and stories based in Cherokee traditions. The Trail of Tears feels ever present alongside a son who was killed by police for no reason, and both anniversaries are coming up when the older couple welcome an emergency foster child into their home. The child seems to awaken the couple in more ways than one.

The writing is engaging for sure, and this is a quick read, but I was not
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Brandon Hobson’s The Removed is a novel so intimate that I felt as if I were eavesdropping into other people’s lives as I read it. It’s a novel in which the characters seem to burst out beyond the pages and covers (or, as the case may be, out of its .mobi file). The Removed is full of emotion, understanding, and empathy for its characters, suffused by sadness, frailty, and familal love.

I’ve previously read Hobson’s National Book Award finalist Where the Dead Sit Talking, his Desolation of Avenu
Aug 20, 2021 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

Brandon Hobson’s The Removed is another book I picked up for book club and while I did enjoy it overall, there were some inconsistencies and issues with the story that made this a bit of a tedious read.

First off, I have to say that the writing here was excellent — in fact, the engaging and lyrical flow of the writing was one of the things I liked most about this book, especially the chapters narrated by Maria, which were by far the strongest parts of the story. Those were the chapte
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
The Removed could be a unique insight to grieving family members after the unwarranted shooting death of a fifteen year old Cherokee boy named Ray-Ray, but instead it just devolves into an incohesive mess. While I don't read a tremendous amount of indigenous fiction, what I have read makes me think part of the writing style is part of culture, but it's also just doesn't work for me. The story prologues the day of Ray-Ray's death and then transitions to (mostly) fifteen years in the future, told ...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
There are not words to describe how beautiful this story is. The reader is immediately drawn into the tragic history of the Echota family who must deal with the shooting death of their youngest child and brother, Ray-Ray. I loved how Hobson weaved in Cherokee folklore to the story. Simply stunning writing.
Jan 27, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book centers around a family dealing with the collective grief over the death of one of the sons. Alternating chapters are narrated by either the mother, sister, or brother of the dead son. Also included are chapters narrated by a spirit. With the exception of the spirit narrator, there is no distinct voice for the individual characters.
Aug 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
National Book Award Finalist (Where the Dead Sit Talking) Hobson has incorporated Cherokee myths—some real, some fictional, Cherokee history and magical realism into a moving story of a fractured family trying to find its way home in time for the Annual Bonfire honoring the Cherokee National Holiday and the anniversary of the death of Ray-Ray.

Ray-Ray died 15 years ago when a police officer thought the teenager had a gun. He didn’t! The strain of this tragedy on the Echota family is particularly
Leslie Ray
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This novel combines the present day issues facing a Cherokee family entwined with Cherokee folklore and the generational repercussions of the "trail of tears". This story is told in different points of view of each surviving member of the Echota family, as they continue to deal with grief from the shooting of their son and brother, Ray-Ray, 15 years ago. The intertwining themes of loss and tradition intersperse with the beliefs and traditions this Native American family deal with as they prepare ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Removed is an incredible book, a book full of honesty and pain and the ethic of keeping on. It's about dispossession and racism, and about youth and age in dialogue with one another. It's got passages of sweeping magnificence and as mundane as describing litter, and it 's all woven together masterfully in a story that will resonate with me for a long time. The characters are real and flawed and their hopes are true and painful: there's the daughter who lies to conceal her hurt and history, t ...more
Jace Aponte
Jan 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Edit: Jan 11, 2021- While I am not going to change anything in the below review, I would like to clarify that I did not give this a 3 based on a few grammar mistakes. Yes, I brought this up in my review as I found they were a bit... jarring, compared to other ARCs I have read. But I just found the overall writing to be too simple, not in terms of grammar. It was just very simple prose. And the story didn't come together for me. Even if it had 100% perfect grammar, it wouldn't matter- it is st ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Removed by Brandon Hobson - 3 stars 1 12 Apr 29, 2021 10:03AM  

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Dr. Brandon Hobson is an American writer. His novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at New Mexico State University and also teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma.

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November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. To join in the celebrations, we’ve sorted through our recent archives to...
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“We are always restless, carrying the dreams of children and the elderly, the tired and sick, the poor, the wounded. The Removed.” 2 likes
“He turned his head and looked back at me: Believe you have wings, and you fly. Believe you are an animal, and you roar. Believe you are dead in the mud, and you sleep with the worms in the mud. No matter what you decide, provide counsel to your people as they are removed.” 1 likes
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