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Publisher's Summary

“A haunted work, full of voices old and new. It is about a family’s reckoning with loss and injustice, and it is about a people trying for the same. The journey of this family’s way home is full - in equal measure - of melancholy and love.” (Tommy Orange, author of There There)

A recommended book from: USA Today * O, the Oprah Magazine * Entertainment Weekly * Harper's Bazaar * Buzzfeed * Washington Post * Elle * Parade * San Francisco Chronicle * Good Housekeeping * Vulture * Refinery29 * AARP * Kirkus * Popsugar * Alma * Woman's Day * Chicago Review of Books * The Millions * Biblio Lifestyle * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * LitHub

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 15 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)

©2021 Brandon Hobson (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Shane Hawk
  • 12-02-2021

A harrowing story of generational trauma

Hobson writes so beautifully. His characters all felt real and compelling. Loved his inclusion of Cherokee lore, some of which extends to other tribes like my own. I will always fear owls, haha.

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  • Pamela
  • 22-08-2021

Best. Narration. Ever. Magical realism at its best.

I have listened to, literally, thousands of audio books and unquestionably the ensemble that performs “The Removed” is the best. This would mean nothing, however, if the source material was not itself exceptional. Brandon Hobson somehow manages to plumb the truth, pain and dislocation of the Trail Where They Cried with a steadfast hand while telling a modern day story. “The Removed” is, among many other things a plea for the empathy our society is still so lacking today but this book never takes the easy path and never goes for cheap sentiment. Every tear I cried, Hobson, and the truth of this history, earned. I loved these characters more than I can say. Not since William Kinsella’s “Shoeless Joe” has magical realism been this magical or this real. Read this book.

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  • Landin
  • 14-05-2021

Richly told story with surprise ending

First off the narration was stellar for this book-four separate voices worked together to tell this story. I was taken by the complexity used to weave the Cherokee history and oral legacy with the issues that modern Cherokee families face-from racism to erasure to mental health and medical health. Very worth the listen!

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  • Cynthia
  • 28-03-2021

Painfully beautiful

The format might seem hard to follow at the beginning, the narration of the story from each of the characters point of view might seem so different, but I love how they merge at the end to reveal a painfully beautiful story of how each of the characters mourns Ray ray. I definitely recommend this beautiful book.

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  • Zoraida Fuentes
  • 17-05-2021

Mystical and Earthly- outstanding

This novel was wonderful! It spoke with my soul. The narrators were essential to brining the characters to life. The Cherokee references and the strength shared throughout the family took me to place of peace and tradition. Well done Brandon Hobson. Looking forward for your others novels!

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