Calling for a Blanket Dance

by Oscar Hokeah

Hardcover, 2022

Call number

FIC HOK

Collection

Publication

Algonquin Books (2022), 272 pages

Description

Fiction. Literature. HTML:A moving and deeply engaging novel about a young Native American man as he learns to find strength in his familial identity. Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face myriad obstacles. His father's injury at the hands of corrupt police, his mother's struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and the legacy of centuries of injustice all intensify Ever's bottled-up rage. Meanwhile, all of Ever's relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across Oklahoma to find security; his grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he's connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself but also the next generation of family. How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn't given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bumblybee
Calling for a Blanket Dance follows the timeline of Ever Geimausaddle's life, told in vignettes from the perspectives of his family members. It's a story about identity, families, and community, and how Ever grows into the person he becomes as a result.

There is a lot to like in this debut novel.
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The story and characters feel authentic; there is no glossing-over gritty details or leaving out things that might make someone look imperfect. I especially liked learning more about Kiowa and Cherokee culture, as I'll admit I didn't know all that much going into this read. I think it was ultimately a smart move on Hokeah's part to tell the story in the voices of Ever's family, rather than sticking solely to one or two perspectives, although I definitely needed to refer to the family tree a couple of times early in the book.

If I have any complaints, it's that it feels like there are some big chunks of Ever's life missing from the novel, especially when he is an adult. I don't expect the entirety of his life to be laid out on the page, but I do wish we had more information about his life after a certain point. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, but the family tree does kind of spoil part of it.) That being said, I don't think it's integral to the story being told; perhaps I just wanted a longer book because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the story just yet!

Overall, this is a heartwrenching story about one man's life. If you're a fan of literary fiction, this is a fantastic read; you'll be thinking about it long after you read the last page.

Thank you to Algonquin and NetGalley for providing a copy for review.
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LibraryThing member Castlelass
Protagonist Ever Geimausaddle’s mother is Cherokee and Kiowa and his father is Mexican. He and his relatives experience many obstacles and issues common to Native American communities, such as depression, unemployment, and addiction. Ever’s story is told from multiple generational perspectives,
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starting with his grandparents. Each chapter is narrated by a different character. Ever eventually gets to speak on his own behalf in the ending chapter.

This novel portrays how community and culture can be helpful in overcoming individual problems. The author highlights many distinctions between Cherokee and Kiowa traditions. It includes stomp dances, the titular blanket dance, and powwows. I particularly enjoyed the way the novel is structured, gradually providing more information as the story progresses. It is an impressive debut.
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LibraryThing member archangelsbooks
A novel of grace and redemption. If only our greater society lived as the Kiowa and Cherokee do in this beautiful novel.
LibraryThing member reader1009
audio fiction (~7 hrs, read by the author with another narrator)

intergenerational stories told by multiple characters (with a combination of indigenous roots), each with their own heartbreaking struggles to contend with.
LibraryThing member DrApple
This novel is told by an assortment of family members and details the trials of being indigenous in Oklahoma. You get wrapped up in their lives, their flaws, and their successes.
LibraryThing member ccayne
I was challenged to be engaged by this book. I led a book discussion on the novel and most of the people were more compelled by the book than I was. To each their own.

Awards

LA Times Book Prize (Finalist — 2022)
Aspen Words Literary Prize (Longlist — 2023)
PEN/Hemingway Award (Winner — 2023)
Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize (Longlist — Fiction — 2023)
BookTube Prize (Octofinalist — Fiction — 2023)
Reading the West Book Award (Winner — Debut Fiction — 2023)
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year (Debut Fiction — 2022)

Pages

272

ISBN

1643751476 / 9781643751474
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