Where the Dead Sit Talking
A dark, authentically-voiced, lyrical Native American coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s. 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.

Where the Dead Sit Talking Details

TitleWhere the Dead Sit Talking
Author
ReleaseFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherSoho Press
Rating
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Where the Dead Sit Talking Review

  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    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 thoughts that raged in Sequoyah 's mind. Even as I am n 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 thoughts that raged in Sequoyah 's mind. Even as I am now finished the story, I have this sickening feeling in my stomach. For now, I shall give it a 3 because this book had great characters and strong writing, but I don't feel that I personally enjoyed it. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    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 trying to care for the three kids, which includes a pre 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 trying to care for the three kids, which includes a preteen genius wanna be boy, they’ve been given.Hobson explores imperfection that’s coupled with good intentions and uniqueness that can be great though painful for the individuals. He also looks at choices within constrained environments. Sequoyah and his thrown together family seem always to be one bad choice away from catastrophe which makes the book compelling but the characters, especially Sequoyah, are equally interesting because they’re so likable despite or partly because of their weaknesses.Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance reader’s copy.4.5/5 stars
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    review to come
  • Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    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 worker, are displayed as well-meaning yet flawed. One of 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 worker, are displayed as well-meaning yet flawed. One of the primary focuses of the novel is Sequoyah’s obsessive relationship with Rosemary, a 17-year-old Kiowa girl living in his foster home. Sequoyah’s platonic and at times disturbing relationship with Rosemary exhibits their shared background and experiences. The novel maintains a brooding, troubled tone throughout, reflecting Sequoyah’s turmoil as he navigates his unstable upbringing. This is a dark read that goes far beyond the conventional coming-of-age tale.
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  • Ron S
    January 1, 1970
    While there'd be nothing technically wrong with saying this book is "a spare, lyrical Native American coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s" that's a bit too tidy and easy a description for this book. Going to live with a new foster family, 15 year old Sequoyah is scarred inside and out and feels sick most of the time with head and stomach aches. He has a lot of weird thoughts and behaviours he doesn't understand, and becomes obsessed with 17 year old Rosemary, another fost While there'd be nothing technically wrong with saying this book is "a spare, lyrical Native American coming of age story set in rural Oklahoma in the late 1980s" that's a bit too tidy and easy a description for this book. Going to live with a new foster family, 15 year old Sequoyah is scarred inside and out and feels sick most of the time with head and stomach aches. He has a lot of weird thoughts and behaviours he doesn't understand, and becomes obsessed with 17 year old Rosemary, another foster kid in his new home. The general tone of the book is dark and messed up, even when everything is going along basically OK. Hobson does a great job of portraying the confusion and uncertainty of being a teenager -- a near universal condition, amped up in this case by the added suffering of having an alcoholic single mom and bouncing around through state detention centres and the foster care system. There's no heart-warming happy ending, no ultimate triumph of the human will, just coping mechanisms and waiting to see what happens next. Unusual literary fiction (I mean that as a compliment) that doesn't always take the usual route, from a Pushcart Prize winner and author of Deep Ellum, The Levitationist, and Desolation of Avenues Untold.
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  • Tobias
    January 1, 1970
    Understated and incredibly powerful.
  • kelly
    January 1, 1970
    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 children: George, a younger, also emotionally damage 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 children: George, a younger, also emotionally damaged boy (his behavior strongly suggests that he's possibly on the autism spectrum), and Rosemary, an older Native American girl with whom Sequoyah becomes obsessed. They bond over their shared heritage (he is Cherokee, she is Kiowa), smoking cigarettes in her bedroom at night and sharing their deepest secrets with each other. Their relationship is equal parts platonic and disturbing, with Sequoyah's violent fantasies and obsessive thoughts of Rosemary taking up much of the novel.This book has a very dark, brooding tone all throughout. There is no happy ending or 'triumph' by the main character. What is here is an unsettling silence at the heart of the events that lets you know that even though everything seems ok, it is apparent that it isn't. Despite the Troutts kindness and "good" intentions, they are powerless to stop the human catastrophe that simmers beneath the surface of their home. I think the author does a great job of depicting how even the most well-intentioned acts of goodness can be misdirected and to the complete detriment of the individual. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is a vital book, given how it describes the foster care system through the perspective of a troubled Native American teenager who is growing up within that system as well as the various topics that crop up in Sequoyah's world - drug use, gambling, etc. Foster care and how it affects the kids within it is a topic that isn't addressed a lot in books, and those that do don't quite inspire the same kind of disconcerting feeling as Hobson does here. This was just not the book for me, and I think this is a vital book, given how it describes the foster care system through the perspective of a troubled Native American teenager who is growing up within that system as well as the various topics that crop up in Sequoyah's world - drug use, gambling, etc. Foster care and how it affects the kids within it is a topic that isn't addressed a lot in books, and those that do don't quite inspire the same kind of disconcerting feeling as Hobson does here. This was just not the book for me, and I'm not quite sure how I would recommend it to readers. Sequoyah's mind is a pretty troubled place (understandably so) and to see him struggle with his sense of self by projecting a lot onto Rosemary inspired equal parts intrigue and concerned trepidation. But I felt like the characters aside from Sequoyah needed to be developed a bit more to really make the story less ambiguous. But again, maybe the ambiguity was what Hobson was going for. I'm giving it three stars because it is pretty well-written and the perspective is important, but for me it was more like a two. Maybe I'll revisit this years from now and see if my feelings have changed.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an E-ARC in exchange for a review.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Brandon Hobson’s Where the Dead Sit Talking covers the summer in the life of Sequoyah, a Cherokee teenager who grew up mostly in group and foster homes. The summer when he was fifteen, Sequoyah was placed with the Troutts, a rural Oklahoma couple with an affinity for odd and/or troubled children. Sequoyah shows us what it’s like for a child with a rough upbringing and unhealthy thoughts searches for an identity. This is not an easy read and I’m not convinced the rewards are worth the read...Read Brandon Hobson’s Where the Dead Sit Talking covers the summer in the life of Sequoyah, a Cherokee teenager who grew up mostly in group and foster homes. The summer when he was fifteen, Sequoyah was placed with the Troutts, a rural Oklahoma couple with an affinity for odd and/or troubled children. Sequoyah shows us what it’s like for a child with a rough upbringing and unhealthy thoughts searches for an identity. This is not an easy read and I’m not convinced the rewards are worth the read...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
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  • Juliaruth
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not sure how feel about this book. It is well written and keeps the reader moving along. Parts of this made me uncomfortable. I see that the characters are flawed teens with troubled backgrounds. And although none are bad people doesn’t mean they don’t have dark or bad thoughts. But doesn’t mean I wasn’t put off by the content that was used. I wouldn’t say don’t read this to anyone. But I also can’t say I loved it.
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a painful read. The psychological abuse inflicted on Native Americans is expressed through the tortured adolescence of the characters. I wished for a resolution, but there isn't any - yet.
  • Linda Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    Dark, weird, sometimes creepy, and sad, and yet, I could not put it down.
  • Isabelle
    January 1, 1970
    Where the Dead Sit Talking is a wonderful book. It is a very suspenseful, sad, and strange novel about Sequoyah, a Cherokee boy in foster care. Although this is a dark story, I found Sequoyah's character more sad than disturbing, and probably feeling the way a lot of boys feel whose lives are thrown around from place to place. Sequoyah tells from the start that Rosemary, the foster sister, has died, and part of her draw to Sequoyah is that he, at times, tells us he wants to be her. He struggles Where the Dead Sit Talking is a wonderful book. It is a very suspenseful, sad, and strange novel about Sequoyah, a Cherokee boy in foster care. Although this is a dark story, I found Sequoyah's character more sad than disturbing, and probably feeling the way a lot of boys feel whose lives are thrown around from place to place. Sequoyah tells from the start that Rosemary, the foster sister, has died, and part of her draw to Sequoyah is that he, at times, tells us he wants to be her. He struggles with his identity, feelings, and loneliness, probably not unlike many teenage boys. It's dark but beautifully told.
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  • Diane Payne
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did, mainly because the blurbs gave away so much info. The dynamics between the three foster children were quite intriguing. I wish we knew a bit more about the foster mother because she had a rather vital role in this saga. Without giving too much away, even though the novel immediately warns us who will be dying, I felt the death was rather abrupt, considering how much of the novel (and the title) focus on death. I wonder what would have happene I didn't expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did, mainly because the blurbs gave away so much info. The dynamics between the three foster children were quite intriguing. I wish we knew a bit more about the foster mother because she had a rather vital role in this saga. Without giving too much away, even though the novel immediately warns us who will be dying, I felt the death was rather abrupt, considering how much of the novel (and the title) focus on death. I wonder what would have happened had that person not died. Or, if the novel didn't end so soon after the death. Maybe it was the perfect ending, the kind of ending that leaves readers wondering, pondering, imagining...
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