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The Removed

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  5,624 ratings  ·  1,028 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 3.37  · 
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 ·  5,624 ratings  ·  1,028 reviews

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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
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
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.”
Traci at The Stacks
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.
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
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
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.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
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.
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
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
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-
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
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.
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
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
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Happy Book Birthday to The Removed!!!

This book was amazing! After There, There and The Removed, I just want to read Native American/Indigenous authors. They are master storytellers and remind me so much of visiting my grandmother on the rez.

This novel is about a family entrenched in grief after their 15 yr. old son is murdered by a police officer who saw two white boys shoving a Native American boy, then heard a shot so his racist self assumed it was the brown skinned boy and shot him. Each fami
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
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
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
More of a 3.7 star rating. This was a very interesting read revolving greif, family issues mixed with Cherokee folklore. It's an unique book and I don't think I've read anything similar too it and it was a good listen. ...more
Laura • lauralovestoread

“We are always restless, carrying the dreams of children and the elderly, the tired and sick, the poor, the wounded. The removed.”

I’m definitely still processing my thoughts after just finishing, but what a beautiful story that left me asking myself if I would be able to forgive the murderer of a loved one.

Cherokee legend and myths woven with history and grief as each Echota family member handles their own trauma after the death of brother and son, Ray-Ray.

There was so much emotion that still li
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
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
Bonnie Brody
Dec 16, 2020 rated it 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
"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
Rachel Rickman
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2021
I'm in the minority here apparently after looking at Goodreads- I loved this book. Just a reminder that reading is subjective and you should read a book if you want to and not rely on ratings/other opinions.

Do not go in expecting a think piece on police brutality or a murder mystery, this is literary fiction at it’s finest. It’s vague on purpose, it makes you think, you have to connect the words in the book to circumstances in your own life. It’s a beautiful piece of Native American/American Ind
Angela Staudt
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
The Removed follows a family who is grieving the loss of their son, who was murdered by a police officer. I really thought the writing was beautiful and full of pain, sadness, and grief. Every chapter alternates between a family member, which made it that much more powerful. This story takes place leading up to the anniversary of Ray-Ray getting shot by the police. The family will be together again to remember him.

I think what made me enjoy this book was how real the characters felt. They were f
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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.” 1 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.” 0 likes
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