The Removed

"Dive into the emotional tapestry of 'The Removed' book by Brandon Hobson. Explore themes of family, grief, and healing in this powerful novel. A captivating journey through history and heartache awaits."
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“The Removed” is a captivating novel written by renowned author Brandon Hobson, published in 2021. This thought-provoking work delves into themes of family, identity, grief, and healing, while weaving together the lives of its characters in a beautifully intricate narrative. Through its lyrical prose and poignant storytelling, the novel offers readers a deep exploration of the impact of historical trauma on contemporary Indigenous families.

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Set against the backdrop of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, “The Removed” follows the Echota family as they grapple with the aftermath of a tragic event that occurred a decade earlier. The family lost their youngest son, Ray-Ray, during a violent encounter with the police. The novel is divided into multiple perspectives, allowing readers to witness the individual struggles and coping mechanisms of each family member as they attempt to come to terms with their loss.

Ada, the matriarch of the family, has turned to her Cherokee heritage and traditional rituals in an attempt to find solace. Her husband, Ernest, seeks refuge in music and solitude, while their daughter, Sonja, struggles with addiction and a sense of detachment. The youngest son, Edgar, is the one who finds himself caught between the legacy of his brother’s tragic death and his family’s attempt to move forward.

Throughout the narrative, the Echota family is preparing for a Cherokee Nation holiday called the “Removed,” which commemorates the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands in the 1830s. This event becomes a poignant metaphor for the family’s own sense of displacement and loss.


“The Removed” has garnered critical acclaim for its deeply emotional exploration of grief and its impact on identity. Critics have praised Brandon Hobson’s ability to tackle sensitive topics with grace and authenticity. The novel’s multi-perspective approach provides a rich tapestry of voices, allowing readers to empathize with each character’s unique struggles.

Kirkus Reviews commended the novel for its “haunting exploration of the impact of historical and personal trauma on individuals and families.” NPR hailed it as “a heart-wrenching meditation on the effects of violence, cultural displacement, and the search for healing.”


“Grief was a cruel and crushing thing. It made a person forget almost everything except for that pain.” – Brandon Hobson, “The Removed”
“They were all survivors, she thought. Survivors of history, of traumas, of their own minds.” – Brandon Hobson, “The Removed”
“He felt he was floating on a river with no current, in the in-between, in a space that was not time.” – Brandon Hobson, “The Removed”


Q: What is the significance of the title “The Removed”?
A: The title “The Removed” carries a dual meaning. It refers to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands, a historical trauma that continues to reverberate in the present. Additionally, it reflects the emotional distance and detachment the Echota family members feel from each other and themselves due to their grief.

Q: How does the novel explore themes of identity?
A: The characters in “The Removed” grapple with their identities in the aftermath of a traumatic event. Ada seeks solace in her Cherokee heritage, Ernest turns to music, and Sonja grapples with addiction. These reactions reflect the complex ways in which trauma can shape one’s sense of self.

“The Removed” is a powerful and beautifully written novel that takes readers on a journey through grief, family, and the search for healing. Brandon Hobson’s evocative storytelling, coupled with the exploration of historical trauma, makes this novel a memorable and impactful read. As readers immerse themselves in the lives of the Echota family, they are likely to find reflections of their own experiences and emotions, ultimately making “The Removed” a must-read for those seeking a deep and resonant literary experience.