Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Where the Dead Sit Talking

FINALIST FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDWINNER OF THE 2018 READING THE WEST BOOK AWARDLONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZENPR'S CODE SWITCH BEST BOOK OF 2018A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF 2018A SOUTHERN LIVING BEST BOOK OF 2018Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a startling, authentically voiced and lyrically written Native American coming-of-age story. With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah,...

Details Where the Dead Sit Talking

TitleWhere the Dead Sit Talking
Release DateFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherSoho Press
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

Reviews Where the Dead Sit Talking

  • Roxane
    Very atmospheric. The protagonist is interesting and dark and at times perplexing. There is a lot to admire here but overall the narrative feels too tightly controlled, too unrelenting. Well worth checking out.
  • Michael
    My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking charts the rise and fall of a bond between two Native American teens, Rosemary and Sequoyah, who share the same foster home. The coming-of-age novel is told from the perspective of an older Sequoyah, who begins at the story's end, with Rosemary's death, and then jumps to the moment he first met h...
  • Lark Benobi
    I am so very pleased that this beautifully crafted and empathetic novel has made the short list for the National Book Award!This novel is simply told, but it isn't a simple story on any level. It's a devastating chronicle of a young person growing up in desperate circumstances. It's an indictment of a social system in which children have no chance to escape poverty and neglect. It's a story of what survival looks like when there is no chance of a...
  • Meike
    Shortlisted for (and hopefully winning) the National Book Award 2018 This coming-of-age novel draws its power and intensity from the perfect portrayal of its protagonist Sequoyah, a 15-year-old Cherokee teen. When his mother is jailed for drug charges, he ends up in foster care and - as we learn on page one, so no spoiler here - sees his foster sibling Rosemary die. Hobson does a fantastic job portraying Sequoyah's troubled mind, and as the story...
  • Dan
    Comments after rereading: I’ve now reread Where the Dead Sit Talking, with even greater enjoyment than from my first reading. I come away with more appreciation for Brandon Hobson’s abilities to breathe life into a story and its characters. Hobson retains nuance and subtlety by inviting the reader to infer key facts about Sequoyah especially, as well as Rosemary and George. Where the Dead Sit Talking is a rare novel that not only stands up to...
  • Erin
    Book to be published February 2018 1980's Oklahoma. At times, a rather dark tale, Where the Dead Sit Talking, is not for the faint of heart. Brandon Hobson's teenage character, Sequoyah, has been abandoned by his father, his mother is in prison, and he had been placed in foster care. Drugs, suicide, sexual awakening/identity are just some of the topics covered within these pages. At times, I felt a bit unsure and disturbed by the unsettling thoug...
  • Rene Denfeld
    Holy moly this is good. I loved this book not just as a writer—the lyricism is profound, the prose both eerie and elegant—but as a longtime foster parent and survivor of childhood trauma myself. It is so rare to find books that capture the truth of foster care. Hobson doesn't turns foster teens into yet another literary trope about bad seeds but instead digs deeply into what it is like to feel thrown away. I'm embarrassed I didn't read this f...
  • Canadian
    “Windigo” by Norval Morrisseau, circa 1963“The everyday cultural world of the Cherokee includes spiritual beings. Even though the beings are different from people and animals, they are not considered ‘supernatural’, but are very much a part of the natural, real world. Most Cherokee at some point in their lives will relate having had an experience with these spiritual beings.”http://webtest2.cherokee.org/About-Th...“A windigo is a su...
  • Sunita
    Longlisted for the NBA Fiction award. Brandon Hobson has written at least two previous novels and a bunch of short stories, but this is my first book by him. It tells the story of about two years in the life of 14/15 year old Sequoyah, who has been living in foster homes and shelters since his mother was sent to prison for drug- and alcohol-related offenses. Sequoyah loves his mother but he has learned to distance himself from her, for his own sa...
  • Erin Glover
    Sequoyah, one-half Cherokee Indian, is somewhere in his tween years when he flees in an El Camino with his alcoholic mother to Tulsa to escape her abusive boyfriends. When he’s 11-years-old, the hot bacon grease on the spatula his mother waves around while she’s on the phone, badly burns his face and neck, scarring him inside as well as out. By the time he’s 14, he’s living in a shelter since his mother is in prison for three years for po...
  • David
    Where The Bored Sit Reading.Apologies to valued friends who were stunned by this one but it didn't do it for me. There was more than a hint of promise unfulfilled.The unsettling story of a teen Cherokee foster child with attachment disorder is interestingly structured and does have its merits. I liked the nonlinear way we learn of both past and present events, for example. The themes are very powerful (preoccupation with violence and death, proph...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Checking another book from the NBA longlist off my list with this novel about a Native American boy adrift in the foster care system. With his mother in prison and his father missing, he finally makes his way to a caring foster family that includes two other troubled teens. The book begins by telling us that his foster sister is dead and then reviews their relationship. Throughout, the voice is calm, but there is a rage and trauma underneath that...
  • Vivek Tejuja
    Coming of age stories are always appealing to me. Somewhere or the other, they spring up and I read them and get all nostalgic about growing-up too soon or growing-up and not realizing that it happened. “Where the Dead Sit Talking” is one such book. Also, might I add here that coming-of-age stories could also take place at a time when you are also an adult, however, this one is set on the brink of adolescence and is illuminating and intensely...
  • Tobias
    Understated and incredibly powerful.
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    This is another read from the National Book Award finalist list. I felt like the life of Sequoyah, a teenaged foster boy, is well represented in how he views the world and interacts with others. The pacing of the book didn't work as well for me, as it tends to race through really important moments. There is a lot of violence alongside what I might call disassociation, which seems about right. Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy th...
  • Kathleen
    National Book Award Longlist 2018. Native American Hobson has written a dark tale about 15-year-old Sequoyah who is a ward of the state, as his mother is in prison on drug charges. After some time spent in institutional settings, and some in unsatisfactory foster care; he is placed in the home of Agnes and Harold Troutt. This couple is already fostering 13-year-old George and 17-year-old Rosemary. All three children have emotional damage: George ...
  • Katie Long
    Sequoyah is a teenager moving through the foster care system after his mother is sent to prison. Hobson writes so beautifully of the emotional, and even physical, toll their unstable upbringings have on Sequoyah, and the other two foster children in the home, Rosemary and George. It is never simply anger, or fear, or sadness, or loneliness, it is all of these feelings at once. Along with love, and relief, and guilt, and pride, and confusion, and ...
  • Cynthia
    Hobson has a fresh way of viewing the world and in this instance through the eyes of a teenage foster child, Sequoyah, who has just joined his latest family. He becomes enamoured of an older resident in his new home who also is Native American and they bound in a heartwarming yet also twisted kind of way...kind of how many teenage relationships are formed. Though their foster parents are odd as well they’re not bad people and seem sincerely try...
  • Tara
    Part of a new wave of Native American writers, Brandon Hobson tells the story of Sequoyah, a teenage boy (named after the man who created the Cherokee written language.) After his alcoholic mother is sent to jail, Sequoyah becomes enmeshed in the care system. After being sent to a foster home in rural Oklahoma, it seems things are looking up. But his friendship with Rosemary, another Indian foster child, turns into obsession. On the face of it, '...
  • David Tromblay
    Hobson does an amazing job of immersing readers into a hauntingly familiar reality for far too many teens through the retrospective treatment of an adult who survived it all (something that is wholeheartedly needed and long overdue). This story is filled with fantastical asides that busy the minds of teens as well as the most entertaining adults. However, if you pay attention, you'll see Hobson doesn't simply do this to fill pages, he is a crafts...
  • Andrew
    Where the Dead Sit Talking is a painful read, a book filled with profound suffering, beautifully told. Sequoyah’s life is filled with anguish: a mother incapable of looking after him, a foster sister kindred soul who feels she must end her life. Brandon Hobson’s poetic style enables the reader to care deeply about his characters. In spite of the multi-layered story being told by an unreliable narrator, it remains gripping throughout. A triump...
  • Benjamin Myers
    This is a wonderfully written story that kept me up late, unwilling to put the book down. The narrator's voice is perfect. The story manages somehow to be simultaneously tender and ominous. The characters are compelling and believable.
  • Wyatt
    Haunting, beautifully written novel that crept under my skin and still won't let go. Sequoyah is a compelling narrator, by turns terse and lyrical, sympathetic and difficult. Hobson's vision is compassionate and all-embracing, which means embracing darkness as much as light.
  • David Rice
    Tender, moving, creepy -- an all-around great coming-of-age novel combined with a philosophical investigation into the nature of death and identity.
  • Brichimt
    In reading through the responses to Where the Dead Sit Talking, it is not surprising that some who read this are sickened by the brutality that Youth of Color who are members of First Nations have been exposed to in the Oklahoma State foster care system. The racist and callous treatment is a societal trait encountered by many and what I call abominable. Look at the treatment of Oklahoma teachers who are striking for a living wage so they can pay ...
  • Morgan
    Where the Dead Sit Talking explores the difficult coming-of-age of Sequoyah, a teenage boy of Cherokee heritage thrust into the U.S. foster care system after his mother’s imprisonment. Hobson brings to light key issues such as racism, mental health, child welfare, and corruption through Sequoyah’s twisted perspective. Adult figures are portrayed as untrustworthy, and even adults in support roles, such as Sequoyah’s foster parents and case w...
  • Isabelle
    I LOVED Where the Dead Sit Talking. Probably the best book I've read this year. It is a very suspenseful, sad, and strange novel about Sequoyah, a Cherokee boy in foster care. A dark story, I found Sequoyah's character sad as she's shuffled around from shelter to foster home. There is something deeper and darker going on with him. He tells from the start that Rosemary, the foster sister, has died, and part of her draw to Sequoyah is that he wants...
  • River
    Just finished reading 'Where the Dead Sit Talking.' What an astonishing book. Beautiful and brutal, you balance intense subject matter with compassion and subtlety. Sequoyah is a fantastic narrator - unreliable, compelling, conflicted and sympathetic. Blew me away.
  • Kim
    Powerful, chilling writing!
  • kelly
    Set in late 1980's rural Oklahoma, "Where the Dead Sit Talking" is the sad, dark tale of a 15-year-old Native American teenager named Sequoyah, sent to live with a foster family after his mother's imprisonment. From the outset of the novel, it is evident that Sequoyah carries many emotional scars, having dealt with his mother's alcoholism and abuse in previous detention settings. Harold and Agnes Troutt are also the foster parents of two other ch...