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The Removed

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,224 ratings  ·  283 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
Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Ecco
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,224 ratings  ·  283 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

”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
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
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Maximilian Birner
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
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
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
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The best way I could describe The Removed is a stretched out feeling of longing that lingers even after the book ends. The book switches perspectives between four characters: Maria (the mother), Sonja (the daughter), Edgar (one of two sons), and Tsala (an ancestor); all of whom reflected on various themes including life and death, one’s connection to the spirit world, and their position in the world (not only within the family and community, but also racially as Native).

Each character presented
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I did like Brandon Hobson's first book Where the Dead Sit Talking but there were small points on the story that distracted me, and probably made that novel not stand out for me the way it could have. (I still think that it was ridiculous not to bring up the Indian Child Welfare Act at any point in the book.) I only requested an ARC through Netgalley because of course, I always want to read Native authors, especially when they teach at my parents alma matter, the Institute of American Indian Arts ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Veronica Foster
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Removed shook me and shocked me, not least because of the way the story snuck up on me when I wasn't paying attention. Told through four different perspectives, the novel focuses on the Echota family, whose lives are snagged and tangled around the painful memory of Ray Ray Echota's tragic death at fifteen. Though the hole where he should be threatens to swallow them, it also offers space for connection with their Cherokee ancestors, whose stories and mythology increasingly shape the action o ...more
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
Bonnie Brody
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel combines Cherokee folklore, history and contemporary issues facing a Native American family. It has been 15 years since Rae-Rae, Maria and Ernest's son has been killed in a police shooting. The police shot the wrong man but, as often happens, they chose to shoot the alleged culprit with the darker skin.

Every year since Rae Rae's death, Maria has a bonfire to celebrate family love and Rae Rae's memory. The family is hovering on the brink of despair. Ernest has Alzheimer's and is quickl
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading The Removed was like getting one of those soul strengthening hugs that fill your lungs with warmth giving you enough strength to get out of bed the next morning and take a step forward.

The Echota family was impacted by a single event. Through a series of short, daily stories, we learned a little bit of how each one of them was coping and making it through the days, and how often all of these stories intertwined in an unexpected way. I loved it, I couldn't put it down.

*Received a digital
Jenna Gullickson
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Ecco, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars, rounded up.

There aren’t enough novels out there written from a Native American perspective. I try to read them whenever I do come across them, but I have yet to find one that I truly love. I was hoping that The Removed would finally break that cycle and be something that resonated deeply enough for me to add it to my list of favorites. After all, this book wa
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
I've been craving a book like this - a book filled to the brim with Native lore. Aside from Ernest (whose perspective we never read from,) all of the characters are pretty well developed.

Edgar, the youngest sibling, is a drug addict. Drug usage isn’t romanticized and addiction is touched on in a very real way. It isn’t overly elaborate, but it’s enough to make it clear that addiction does not make you a bad person even if it causes bad choices.

Sonja, the eldest sister, is definitely a strong fe
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: botm, 2021-read
still processing this one. It’s deep and moving, following a family’s journey through the grief of losing their son/little brother. Present day mixed with Cherokee folklore that blends the real and spiritual. It’s beautiful and is sticking with me, but may not be for everyone.
Jenn Hammel
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m still trying to process this book. I loved the raw honesty of the characters and how bluntly their flaws are stated. I would love to read some scholarly articles about this work, because I can tell that there are many layers and a lot of symbolism that I’m not picking up on with a first read.

I tend to prefer plot driven books rather than character driven, so I just wish that a bit more happened in this book, but that’s mostly about me, not the work itself. I find it interesting how this book
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Having a really hard time rating this one, probably more like 3.5 - I felt really invested from the intro and start of the book and was eager to read it based on the premise, but overall had a hard time following and felt like the author was trying to go too many directions. I loved the mother, Maria’s perspective and Wyatt’s character - would have been happy with a whole book around their narratives. I also liked/was excited to read this book because of the Cherokee folklore intermixed. However ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was like a gut punch on how grief affects different people. I loved the writing.
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading The Removed was like getting one of those soul strengthening hugs that fill your lungs with warmth giving you enough strength to get out of bed the next morning and take a step forward.

The Echota family was impacted by a single event. Through a series of short, daily stories, we learned a little bit of how each one of them was coping and making it through the days, and how often all of these stories intertwined in an unexpected way. I loved it, I couldn't put it down.
Mariah Wamby
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Look, look. The stories all have something in common, right? They’re like medicine, but without the bad taste, right? It’s good for you.”

Thank you to @eccobooks and @netgalley for the ARC of The Removed by Brandon Hobson in exchange for my review!

Nearly fifteen years ago young Cherokee teenager Ray-Ray Echota was murdered by a cop. Since then, his family has created a tradition in which they share memories of Ray-Ray at an annual bonfire. This year though, the family struggles might not allow t
Colleen Myers
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
This book is told across multiple narrators, and I found my engagement with the story varied based on which character’s perspective was in focus at any given time. I found the ending unsatisfying, personally, but kept this at three stars because there were a few characters whose subplots kept me engaged - I would gladly read a full novel from the mom’s perspective, for instance, but I really struggled to push through the chapters written from Edgar’s POV.
Summer E
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best books are the kind that totally consume me, my emotions, thoughts and have me at my full attention. The Removed is one of those. This is one of the most unforgettable books that I have ever read. The story is filled with gut wrenching sadness and incredible joy.
I definitely see this being at least one, if not my top favorite book of 2021.

The writing is simply beautiful It flowed like a song with the most amazing poetry. This book is filled with Cherokee myths, legends, and history. Th
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into this book. I liked the first and last chapters, but that's about it. I'm sure it's a good book, but it just wasn't the right book for me. ...more
Nicole Wills
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: january-tbr
really a 2.5, but i only understood like 50% of what happened in this book
Caitlin 🐈
Absolutely what I needed to start off my new year, new perspectives and a well written book that has me feeling refreshed in a strange sort of sense. I loved this book, and found it to be something that might get read once a year.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, native, arc
The Removed is a novel following the life of a Cherokee family living in Oklahoma fifteen years after a cop shot and killed their son, Ray-Ray. The book is told from the perspective of the Echota family members days before their annual bonfire commemorating Ray-Ray’s life, despite their fractured lives filled with depression, drugs, Alzheimer’s, alienation, and loneliness.

This is not just a book about everyday hurting and pain—the book takes strange turns and twists as you begin to lose sight of
Eileen Kennedy
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Echota family grieves. Fifteen years ago Rae Rae, the second child, was shot by a police officer. As the anniversary nears, each member of the family prepares for the memorial bonfire. Ernest, the father, suffers from early stages of Alzheimer’s. Sonja, the oldest, has drifted through relationships without committing and seems fixated on one particular man. Edgar, the youngest, suffers from addiction and hovers close to suicide. Maria, the mother, finds release from her depression through a ...more
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Brandon Hobson is the author of four novels. His novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Award. His new novel is The Removed (Ecco, 2021).

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