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Check It Out: The Removed by Brandon Hobson

This is Jessi Wakefield with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out. 

With his newest novel, The Removed, National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson has created a moving tale of an Oklahoma Cherokee family fractured from the tragic and unjust death of their son and brother, Ray-Ray who was shot and killed by a police officer years earlier. 

The Echota Family is going through hell, each are wrestling with their grief as they fight against their own inner demons when the 15th anniversary of Ray Ray’s death approaches.  They normally celebrate this time with a bonfire and meal because it’s on the same day as a Cherokee National Holiday, and they use it as an excuse to be together during difficult times.

However, despite being together, each family member has their own private way of coping using unhealthy mechanisms which are doomed to fail.

The truly depressed mother Maria, is pouring out her feelings in her journal but the words are not enough to express her deep crippling pain.

The father, Ernest suffers from early onset Alzheimer's, is reluctant to deal with the memories of his painful past.

The daughter, Sonja becomes more anti-social, and begins to stalk a young musician and his son  but not understanding why she is so obsessed with them.

And the youngest boy, Edgar becomes an addict, rejecting any help, not keeping his promises after serious interventions, who is killing himself slowly, letting his addiction take away his soul. 

The family is crumbling until one day Maria and Ernest temporary foster a kid who has a resemblance to their dead son and he beings to act like the incarnated soul of Ray Ray: having interest in classic songs, collecting vinyl, and impersonating comedians just like their son used to do. 

It is an utterly moving account and hope you will contact us at the Sioux City Public LIbrary for your copy of The Removed or other tales of magical realism.  

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.