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Where the Dead Sit Talking
Cover of Where the Dead Sit Talking
Where the Dead Sit Talking
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With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his unstable upbringing, Sequoyah has spent years mostly keeping to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface-that is, until he meets the seventeen-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts. Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American backgrounds and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah's feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.
With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his unstable upbringing, Sequoyah has spent years mostly keeping to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface-that is, until he meets the seventeen-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts. Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American backgrounds and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah's feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.
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About the Author-
  • Brandon Hobson is the author of Where the Dead Sit Talking, Desolation of Avenues Untold, Deep Ellum, and The Levitationist. He has won a Pushcart Prize. His stories and essays have appeared in Conjunctions, NOON, the Paris Review Daily, the Believer, Post Road, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 11, 2017
    The latest from Hobson (Deep Ellum) is a smart, dark novel of adolescence, death, and rural secrets set in late-1980s Oklahoma. After his mother is jailed for drug charges, 15-year-old Sequoyah becomes the foster child of Harold and Agnes Troutt, a middle-aged couple already fostering 13-year-old George and 17-year-old Rosemary. Sequoyah shares a bedroom with the quirky George, who sleepwalks and sometimes communicates via handwritten notes, and bonds with Rosemary over their shared Native American heritages—he is Cherokee, she Kiowa. As the pair grows close, Sequoyah falls for Rosemary’s charm and fantasizes about both hurting and becoming his foster sister (“We shared no physical attraction but something else, something deeper. I saw myself in her.”), who has a history of self-harm. Sequoyah also learns of Harold’s illegal sports bookie business from his foster siblings, and the lure of Harold’s hidden sacks of rolled hundred-dollar bills, tucked safely in a backyard shed, tempt all three children with the possibility for trouble, excess, and freedom, which drives the novel’s second half. Hobson’s narrative control is stunning, carrying the reader through scenes and timelines with verbal grace and sparse detail. Far more than a mere coming-of-age story, this is a remarkable and moving novel.

  • AudioFile Magazine Eric Summerer narrates Cherokee author Brandon Hobson's new novel. His deliberate pacing and almost dispassionate tone underscore 15-year-old Sequoyah's alienation and observations of his new foster family. While a coming-of-age story, this realistic account of some months in the 1980s from the later vantage point of full adulthood is not a young adult listen, although older teens can derive insight and companionship from it. Both Hobson's characterizations and Summerer's ability to voice the teen's depression and the unhelpful adults in his life--from his foster parents to a creepy teacher and an impatient dentist--are revelatory. Summerer is least successful in his voice for foster sister Rosemary; however, he succeeds with a foster brother who has Asperger's. Overall, Summerer's quiet tone suits the subtle, interior-focused story. F.M.R.G. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
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Where the Dead Sit Talking
Where the Dead Sit Talking
Brandon Hobson
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