Cover Image: Calling for a Blanket Dance

Calling for a Blanket Dance

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Member Reviews

The main character is from Kiowa and Cherokee tribes.  He is a very complex character.  He wants to promote his heritage to his grandchildren, but he also realizes his downfall.  The blanket presentations and the blankets themselves represent more than a piece of cloth.

Recommended for public libraries.
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This book, for me, was magical and raw. I really enjoyed it and have recommended it to many friends and family members as on my mom's side, we're all mixed.
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Wanted to live this but lost interest. There's a lot of jumping from one character to the next. Was not interesting enough to keep track of each person.
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This multigenerational literary novel about generations of Indigenous people is a necessary and important addition to your TBR. Ever Geimausaddle, a young Native man, is the focal point of which all other characters are centered. His story is told by his grandmother, grandfather, and cousin who hope to help him as he lives on through them and with them.
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Intriguing book. I enjoyed the form of the book and the gripping family story. This was an excellent read. I highly recommend settling in and spending time with the community that Oscar Hokeah creates.
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This book was such an amazing journey to read through. It spans generations of a mixed-Native American family. As a Native American reader, this Own Voices tale was a breath of fresh air. Being able to see my own experience through the lens of this author was refreshing. 

This family saga is told in bits and pieces, through some outsiders perspectives, first person perspectives... Through family members that have long past, and through those living in the moment. We see generational trauma play out within this one family, how single threads of existence can skew the future of others. How one persons struggle with addiction can serve as a butterfly effect to so many other things. 

I enjoyed how this author wove in pieces of culture, lost identity, and large scale implications of colonization.
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A great look through the lens of an extended family of cultures mixing and clashing and generational perspectives of what to save and what to pursue. Funny and tragic and heartwarming - sometimes in rapid succession.
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Thanks so much to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me access to this book. It is great to be getting  more and more content from Native American writers. I enjoyed this short story collection by Oscar Hokeah. I will be pointing this book out to my patrons.
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I enjoyed Calling for a Blanket Dance. The story revolves around one main character and is told through the POV of each of his family members. It shows how one family's relationships with each other, are intertwined and the cause and effect of decisions that are made are passed down to generations. At the very core of the family is about taking care of each other and ensuring the culture and traditions of their native ancestors are passed down to the next generation.  An amazing story about Native American culture and traditions and the struggle to find / and keep sacred their true identify.
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One of my goals this year has been to include more indigenous voices in my reading and this book was at the top of my list and it certainly did not disappoint! Generational trauma is something so many people deal with but for the indigenous community this seems louder than most, their mistreatment to this day informs the life they will have and the lives those have had before them. As Ever Geimausadle makes decisions and choices we hear from not only his voice but the voices of those before him a fan around him. Those voices come in different languages and perspectives but all are important and show the make up of who Ever is and who he will become. The love between this characters, and the author and these characters, is clear as their dedication to hope, perseverance and success shine through. A brilliant debut novel!
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Hokeah's beautifully crafted novel is threaded together as intricately as a quilt with each person's story contributing a different time and experience of the main character - Ever Geimausaddle. In following Ever through the eyes of his extended family and friends, we are invited in to experience life in their Cherokee/Kiowa community.. It is place of hardship and poverty but also a community rich in tradition, cultural history and generosity. 

Highly recommend for book groups.
Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin books for the ARC.
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This novel introduces the reader to the Geimausaddle family and focuses on one member, Ever Geimausaddle.  The family is Native American, both Cherokee and  Kiowa and Mexican.  Family is everything although the members of the family encounter many issues.  There is poverty, addiction, divorce, issues with the police and government and gangs that try to woo the children away from the parents.  Jobs are hard to come by and easy to lose.  

But there is much that is good.  Children are prized and the adults sacrifice much in order to attempt to make their children's lives better than their own.  The tribe holds dances to teach the culture and to strengthen the ties between the families.  The title phrase, calling for a blanket dance, is a reference to when a blanket is spread, someone with a need stands on the blanket and starts a dance and everyone there throws what money they can spare on the blanket to help a family in need.  Ever fights through a childhood of anger to two marriages, both of which end in divorce.  But he has his three children plus a young man he adopts.  Ever does what he can to give back, working with the young people he sees in trouble.

This is a debut novel and it is exceptional.  The story is told through the stories of individual members of the Geimausaddle family, Ever's parents and aunts and uncles, cousins.  It is a story that will touch the hearts of readers and give insight into the lives of Native Americans in our country.  Ever is an interesting character and seems to be autobiographical as the author's life follows much the same path.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in other cultures.
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I have been intentionally reading a lot of fiction by and about native peoples. This book focuses on Ever, and we see his life starting from his infancy. It is a book full of displacement, pain, confusion, isolation, and anger. The writing is extremely good, however I found the short story format to be distracting. It jolted me out of the story, and sometimes I had trouble getting back into it.

All-in-all, this is an important, haunting book to read. It reminds me This House is Not a Home, which is my favorite book of the year so far, and they both deserve a read.
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Oscar Hokeah’s debut novel centers young Ever as he explores his identity, family, community and place in the world. Told from a variety of voices, this story is one of love, loss, growth, tradition and evolution. Not to be missed.
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The structure author Oscar Hokeah uses to create the story of Ever Geimausaddle is deliciously inventive and solidly rooted in family storytelling. It gives the characters—and the book—a deep complexity from the layers of voices. Hokeah creates such a memorable first impression with Ever as the baby; it stuck with me through the whole novel. This is a book worthy of multiple readings; there’s so much to notice, so many layers to understand. I will use CALLING FOR BLANKET DANCE with writing students. It’s a perfect example of why can come from thoughtful revision. I highly recommend this book and will be re-reading it soon.
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Oscar Hokeah's Calling for a Blanket Dance is a beautifully crafted work of fiction that speaks to the the complicated ties family and "family" build with one another over generations. The promo materials present this title as the story of Ever Geimausadle, but Calling for a Blanket Dance is so much more than a single-character book. Yes, Ever is a frequent presence, but even when talking about Ever, the book's other characters offer readers a much broader portrait.

The different branches of Ever's family include Kiowas, Cherokees, and Mexicanos. These different branches have their areas of tension, but no one in this book would deny that every other character, regardless of their differences, is family. Many of the events in this novel are discouraging, even tragic, but Hokeah's broad cast of characters also allows for genuine possibilities of hope and selfhood—and these positive moments never feel false or forced.

The role of narrator in Calling for a Blanket Dance is distributed among members of this extended family. Most "speak" only once, though a few key characters have the chance to speak twice. This variation in narrator gives readers a way into this family that embraces so many cultures and will teach most readers quite a bit about each of these cultures. The book integrates words and phrases in Kiowa, Cherokee, and Spanish. Usually, these are easy to understand from context, but even when they aren't, the reader's uncertainty about what's being said is a powerful tool reminding us that embracing diversity means embracing that which we don't know and not just that which we learn.

Calling for a Blanket Dance is a book that would reward multiple readings, though the rewards of a single reading are already substantial. Small connections and their importance can become clearer; the motivations of individual characters grow richer as readers revisit what these characters say. This is a buy-or-request-it-now title, a book you don't want to abandon on your one-of-these-days pile. It's also a title that you can read, put down, and return to. Reading in this way may make the complex relatedness between the characters more difficult to follow, but doesn't diminish the the diversity, strengths, and perspectives of the novel's many characters.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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Who is Ever, really? I think reading this book as an electronic galley did it a disservice- I really could have used a better formatted family tree. Without it, I was a bit lost at the start. However, that did not detract at all from the ambition and scope of this novel as told through the many perspectives of a family, looking mainly at our main character Ever. Hokeah does not shy away from all the challenges of Native American life, or how hard it can be to have hopes and dreams and a setting that makes all of them significantly harder to obtain. But there is life and verve here, a respect for tradition and a willingness to make change and evolution within that tradition. I thought the various voices were not all super distinctive (though some were!), but they felt more like a Greek chorus surrounding our hero and explaining his journey- they didn't need to all be unique in order to convey the story. I absolutely loved this book and would hand it to anyone interested in nuance and family stories, or just in search of a narrative where there are no easy answers but there is a lot of love. Five star read, and I highly recommend it!
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Oscar Hokeah’s Calling for a Blanket Dance is a combination of novel and connected short stories, a consideration of the life of Ever Geimausaddle. Ever’s father immigrated from Mexico; his mother’s ancestors are members of the Cherokee and Kiowa nations, and Ever moves, through the book, between his different heritages.

Beginning in 1976, when Ever is a baby, the narrative shares Ever’s story through a multitude of voices. We hear from his grandparents, his mother, his sister, his aunts, distant relatives . . . but not, for the longest time, from Ever himself. The voices are distinct and opinionated, and they drive home the way the truth of someone can shift both because of the point of view of the storyteller and because we, as people, grow and change.

There are some recurring themes through the book, traditions that serve as anchors and which older generations are often striving to pass on to keep them alive. There’s a reverence for ceremony but for a ceremony that is alive and that changes with those who are enacting it.

Hokeah’s writing is stunning, and this is a book that I’m sure I’ll be revisiting. Calling for a Blanket Dance has become one of my top reads this year.
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{3.5 stars}

In this book we get a series of short stories of an indigenous family through the years which reveal to us the struggles and joys of being native. The stories deal with racism, alcoholism, domestic abuse, financial and healthcare challenges as well as pride and tradition. Each story involves Ever and his various relations in Oklahoma: parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunts, cousins and his impact on their lives. 

We learn a lot about the dynamics of the different tribes. The through line of Ever's life is the importance of his family, his community and his identity. There are times when he strays away and his life gets worse but when he pulls in his support system, he flourishes and brings joy to those around him. Ever comes full circle from a violent, negative experience as a toddler to an angry, violent youth through to an adult counselling another angry youth to a calmer more fulfilled place.

What is most important is while we celebrate the differences and uniqueness of tribal life, we recognize how a lot of the experiences of this family are similar to those of any other culture. And I don't say that to belittle the struggle and strife thrust upon generations of indigenous families but to say that it is easy to empathize with Ever and his family.

Thanks to Algonquin Books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
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This book was moving and beautifully written. I loved everything about it. Each chapter is written by a different character from a large extended family and at a different time period. I loved the variety of perspectives and to see the growth of the characters over time.

The story does a great time of not just portraying the hardships of life for American Indians. There are also stories of triumph, love and commitment to family. The character development is great and gives a well rounded  image of a specific Native family. 

I will say I read this in large chunks which helped with character retention and relations (since there are a lot of them and the perspective changed). If I took a day off from reading it took me a few moments to to remember who we were hearing from and how they were related, Luckily, there was a family tree at the beginning a kept referencing. Also I was worried this  book would be too depressing to read in large chunks but that was not the case at all. It was written so beautifully it   just sucked me in, I couldn't put it down.
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