Tommy Orange’s Praise for Oscar Hokeah’s Debut Novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE

As many of you already know, I’ve been out of the loop. Also many of you know about my debut novel. I had been promoting it on my social media constantly for months after it released in late July 2022. Then tragedy hit my family. I became distracted and consumed by my little sister’s well being. I deleted all my social media. In the last few days, I’ve had a little more time to come back to this layer of the multiverse. Guess what I stumbled upon? Lit Hub released an article in the middle of December titled “88 Writers on the Books They Loved in 2022,” and I was shocked to find Tommy Orange’s praise for my debut.

I sat with my sister on Christmas day. The right side of her body paralyzed. She was unable to speak, and is still unable to speak. I’ve been helping her daily try to enunciate vowel sounds. Since the left side of her brain was affected by a major stroke, she’ll need to relearn to speak again. I bought my sister a Christmas gift and I watched her open the wrapping paper. There are moments when she functions very much like a child, and watching her open that gift made her appear like small girl to me. She pulled the soft pillow from the paper and immediately started rubbing it against the side of her face. She wore a big smile. Christmas was my birthday. I was born on December 25th. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time.

Jumping online again to discover all the amazing articles about my debut is a nice surprise after the last two months. There’s been mentions with Time, Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, Tribal Journal, and too many others to mention them all. A lot has happened since I’ve been away. Who knew the multiverse was so action packed?

I was especially surprised to find Tommy Orange’s mention of my debut. Orange wrote the groundbreaking novel, THERE, THERE. It received a tremendous amount of praise, and I remember buying his book for friends and family during the holidays when it was initially released. This is the book that started the latest Native American renaissance in literature. One I’m especially grateful for since my debut has benefited from the renewed interest in books written by Native authors. When I stumbled upon Orange’s praise of my book, I was shocked and humbled. Here’s what he had to say:

“The book I got the most excited about in 2022 is Oscar Hokeah’s Calling For a Blanket Dance. It’s such a vital and powerful novel, giving us a wide range of voices over decades of Native life in a new and real way, from a writer I will from now on read everything he writes. Lately it’s felt like I either don’t like a book enough to finish it or love it so much I read it again immediately after finishing it. Often I’ll read the book first then listen to the audiobook (I did this with Tess Gunty’s The Rabbit Hutch this year too), and the cast and performance of Calling For a Blanket Dance is so satisfyingly dynamic and nothing less than stunning. I could not more highly recommend this book.” –Tommy Orange, author of There, There

I’m truly grateful for Tommy Orange’s words here and I hope I get the chance to thank him in person one day. I’m also honored by Lit Hub for their article “88 Writers on the Books They Loved in 2022.” You can find my debut novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE, at your favorite local bookstore or online retailer: Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Books-A-Million, IndieBound.

8 thoughts on “Tommy Orange’s Praise for Oscar Hokeah’s Debut Novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE

  1. Wow…so many layers here. My heart goes out to you and your sister. I must echo Basia Korzeniowka’s question about speech therapy! While spontaneous recovery from a stroke can occur as the brain heals, a speech therapist can help bridge the gap and provide communication strategies during the interim.
    Congratulations on your novel!

    Liked by 2 people

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