Synopses & Reviews
Finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction
Finalist for the 2019 SFC Literary Prize
Longlisted for the 2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize
NPR's Code Switch Best Books of 2018
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018
A Southern Living Best Book of 2018
2018 Reading the West Book Award Winner for Fiction
2019 In the Margins Book Award Top Fiction Novel
Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a stunning and lyrical Native American coming-of-age story.
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 mother's years of substance abuse, Sequoyah keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface. At least until he meets seventeen-year-old Rosemary, a troubled artist who also lives with the family.
Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American background 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.
"A masterly tale of life and death, hopes and fears, secrets and lies." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"[A] poignant and disturbing coming-of-age story . . . Hobson presents a painfully visceral drama about the overlooked lives of those struggling on the periphery of mainstream society." Booklist
"Where the Dead Sit Talking is a sensitive and searching exploration of a youth forged in turbulence, in the endless aftermath of displacement and loss. Sequoyah's voice is powerfully singular — both wounded and wounding — and this novel is a thrilling confirmation of Brandon Hobson's immense gifts on the page." Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me
"Hobson writes with a humane authority but without giving his characters any alibis. What we have instead is a careful look at what it means to be physically and psychically scarred, abandoned by parents, Native American in a white world, haunted by death, and on the verge of becoming an adult. A wonderful, harrowing novel." Brian Evenson, author of The Open Curtain
"One of those novels that comes around rarely in Native American letters, one that quietly changes everything." Anomaly
About the Author
Brandon Hobson is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and his writing has appeared in such places as Conjunctions, NOON, The Paris Review Daily, and The Believer. He is the author of Desolation of Avenues Untold, Deep Ellum, and The Levitationist. Beginning Fall 2019 he will be an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at New Mexico State University. He is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma.
Brandon Hobson on PowellsBooks.Blog
When I began writing Where the Dead Sit Talking
, I was thinking a lot about the ideas of displacement and identity among Native youth, particularly in the foster care system in Oklahoma...