Many voices tell a beloved son’s story in Oscar Hokeah’s standout novel.
On this week’s episode, Oscar Hokeah discusses Calling for a Blanket Dance (Algonquin, July 26), a gorgeous new novel from a writer to watch (“Oscar Hokeah is the real deal. A new voice with ancient music.”—Luis Alberto Urrea). Hokeah, a regionalist Native American author of literary fiction, earned an M.A. in English from the University of Oklahoma, a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and spent the last two decades in many service roles, working to empower Native American communities.
Set primarily in Tahlequah and Lawton, Oklahoma, and a bit in Aldama, Mexico, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the unforgettable story of a young Native American man named Ever Geimausaddle, as told by 11 members of his Kiowa, Cherokee, and Mexican American family—with a capstone chapter from the POV of the man himself. These voices make a moving symphony, charting a life marked in infancy by an extraordinary act institutional violence. Through many subsequent troubles and triumphs, Ever’s family watches and weighs in, offering their counsel, judgement, resources, and love.
Hokeah and host Megan Labrise discuss how he chose a polyvocal approach to telling Ever Geimausaddle’s story; how Hokeah’s no-BS approach to blogging broadens access to concepts like polyvocality and peripheral narration; the character of Ever’s grandmother, Lena Stopp, who narrates the first chapter; the effects of violence witnessed in childhood; acts of hope; second chances; the book’s cover art by Christin Apodaca; and much more.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.
A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic by Debbie Rigaud (Scholastic)
H Is for Harlem by Dinah Johnson, illus. by April Harrison (Christy Ottaviano Books)
Night of the Living Rez By Morgan Talty(Tin House)
Also mentioned on this episode:
Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (Point/Scholastic)
A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf)
The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley (Scholastic)
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Liveright)
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (Random House)
Thanks to our advertisers:
Ivy Lodge: A Memoir of Translation and Discovery by Linda Murphy Marshall
Circle of Ash by Sterling Magleby
Dorian's Quarterback by Mary Taylor
Once in a Lifetime by Suzanne Mattaboni
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.