Title: Where the Dead Sit Talking
Author: Brandon Hobson
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 289
In this sad, strange story about trauma and secrets, a damaged teenage boy in the 1980’s forms an intense bond with his foster sister. Sequoyah is the Native American son of a drug-addicted mother who’s never had anybody in his life he could count on. His new foster parents have their share of problems but they’re kind and caring towards Sequoyah and his foster siblings Rosemary and George.
Rosemary is also Native American and Sequoyah has a really a weird enmeshed relationship with her where he seems to simultaneously desire her and want to be her. Sequoyah says at the very beginning that Rosemary is dead and the majority of the book covers the events leading up to the tragedy. Rosemary is fickle and manipulative towards Sequoyah but Sequoyah isn’t exactly sympathetic either.
I pitied him at times but I can’t say I liked him. The writing was unpretentious but really rich in detail and atmosphere. I felt like I could smell, see, feel, and taste everything the author described. The characters (from the protagonist to the minor players) are weird but very interesting, full of nuance and ambiguity.
I had a lot of big questions about this book, it seemed somehow incomplete. The ending was abrupt and there were a lot of plot threads that were left hanging. I was left wanting more, but the prose itself was outstanding and the author has a good eye for detail and characterization. I may not have ‘liked’ Sequoyah but he was a fascinating character and I was effortlessly pulled into his ill-fated journey.