Published February 2nd, 2021
The Removed by Brandon Hobson, was one of my BOTM picks for January. While I confess that the vibrant cover did capture my attention, it wasn’t the only thing that tempted me into giving it a try. It is a novel that explores grief and history in a compelling and evocative way.
The Echota family is well acquainted with loss and pain – but it hasn’t made their journeys any easy. Their entire lives changed the day their teenage son was shot by police. Now, fifteen years later, they’re still learning how to process that pain. Each member had their own way of going through this process, naturally. Yet it is through the lens of their heritage where a semblance of peace was finally found for each and every one of them.
The Removed isn’t one of those novels you pick up if you’re hoping for a feel-good read. It is full of raw and powerful emotions – as one might well expect. It deals with heavy topics, such as the loss of a family member, and the different ways everyone deals with it. In that sense, that makes for a beautiful foundation.
I loved the inclusion of Cherokee legend in lore as a way of processing the loss and grief of the family. That being said, it was more difficult than expected to get into (or appreciate) each of their perspectives. I found myself enjoy the narrative of the mother, while being slightly off-put by details from the other characters.
The Removed is a novel rife with allegory, some easy to spot, while others take a bit more effort. The end result is a novel that will almost certainly force the reader to think and process the world in a different light.