Sunday, June 10, 2012

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Writing about Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead yesterday reminded me of 2011's National Book Award-winning novel by Jesmyn Ward which I read awhile back but haven't yet mentioned here. Salvage the Bones takes place over a period of 12 days in a backwoods coastal town in Mississippi.

15-year-old Esch is the narrator, telling us about the simmering tensions in her dirt-poor family while hurricane Katrina is building off the Gulf of Mexico. She and her three brothers share a fierce love and loyalty, protecting each other from their alcoholic father's volatile temper. Her brothers' involvement in illegal dog fighting, a basketball game with a scholarship riding on it, and the coming storm all add to Esch's main concern. Her pregnancy is just starting to show and she hasn't talked to anyone about it yet.

Readalikes: We the Animals by Justin Torres and AD: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld.

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