Where The Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson is probably one of my favorite books. As a Native American it’s difficult to find decent representation in media, and I saw a lot of similarities between the protagonist Sequoyah and myself. Primarily the rough lifestyle we shared, and how to some degree we overcame our circumstances. The Removed did not quite hit me the same way as Where The Dead Sit Talking, but it was still a fun book to read.
The plot primarily revolves around Ray Ray, a child who was shot by a police officer. However, his entire family is facing unique struggles all their own. Ray Ray’s father has Alzheimer’s, his older brother is a drug addict who overdoses far from home, and his sisters have issues they’re struggling with too. This all happens right around the anniversary of the end of the Trail of Tears, so the family is also visited by a spirit named Tsala. I was able to attend a seminar on the book to promote its launch, and Bradon Hobson did a lot of impressive research on Cherokee mythology.
One of the big struggles he cited during that seminar was trying to maintain unity in timelines between the physical realm and spirit realm. To put it briefly in the spirit realm time does not move like it does here on Earth. For example, they use vinyl and fairly advanced hologram projectors in the spirit realm. It’s a book you really need to pay careful attention to sometimes. All-in-all though, I thought it was interesting how Brandon Hobson wove Cherokee mythology with modern day issues natives face.