Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Winner of the National Book Award

Jesmyn Ward, two-time National Book Award winner and author of Sing, Unburied, Sing , delivers a gritty but tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family--motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce--pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781608195220
1608195228
Branch Call Number: WARD J
Characteristics: 261 pages ; 22 cm.

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LPL_KateG Apr 28, 2015

Incredibly powerful novel of community, loss, and hope. Jesmyn Ward is a master of pacing - at times slow and deliberate as a sweltering summer day, at others as fast-paced and intense as a dog fight or a hurricane. Looking forward to reading more by this author!


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m
miaone
Jul 02, 2018

A dreadful book. I couldn't stay with it long enough to get to the part about the hurricane. The pictures the author paints of the lives of the characters is so unrelentingly ugly, depressing, violent, and hopeless that I had to give it up after 20 or so pages. I can't imagine why anybody would read this book.

a
abbi_g
Jun 10, 2018

"Where my brothers go, I follow."

I've been wanting to read another Jesmyn Ward novel after reading her latest book, Sing Unburied Sing; and Salvage The Bones seemed like the next best one. Although I didn't find this particular story to be as interesting as Sing Unburied Sing, I still enjoyed it. Jesmyn has a unique writing voice and I love how her novels focus on Black families living in rural Mississippi. She also weaves poetry into her stories, which some readers may or may not appreciate; but this is what helps set her novels apart from others. I'm looking forward to reading more of her novels.

c
cokie28
May 06, 2018

This is a powerful novel, much better than her first, that will give you reason to love and respect this family, and fear the power of Katrina and all hurricanes. The bond between Skeeter and China is especially moving (and unexpected for most of us), and the ending suggests that bond is unending.

Highly recommended.

SPPL_Betsy Mar 09, 2018

Esch Batiste is a fourteen-year old girl quickly coming-of-age in an impoverished, coastal Mississippi town. Her mother died several years earlier, and she is left to live with her alcoholic father and three brothers. The story begins twelve days prior to Hurricane Katrina. The family is busy preparing for the storm as Esch experiences her own inner storm; she is pregnant. The full realization of her pregnancy occurs to Esch while watching her brother’s beloved pit pull give birth to puppies. The theme of motherhood continues to weave itself throughout the story as the Batiste children scramble to collect food and protect their home from the impending storm.

The winner of multiple awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction (2011), Salvage the Bones is an excellent choice for fans of literary fiction. The poetic nature of Ward’s writing, along with the emotional telling of one family’s endurance will appeal to those who enjoy thought-provoking, gripping story lines.

l
lornagee
Mar 09, 2018

This is an exquisitely written novel that follows the narrator, 14-year-old Esch, her family, and friends over the course of 12 days. Set in Bois Sauvage (the Wild Woods), Mississippi, Jesmyn Ward's lyrical writing contrasts vividly with Esch's harsh and savage world.

From the loss of Esch's mother and her alcoholic father's rough indifference to the raw cruelty of dog-fighting, to the casual passion of sex and the fierce loyalty of her brothers, Ward creates characters and a story as unforgettable as Esch's beloved Greek mythology. It's not an easy read, but it's worth every minute.

Highly recommended.

vm510 Nov 30, 2017

This story is primarily about a young girl's heartbreak, her grief over her mother, and the isolation she feels even while surrounded by her brothers and father. It is a story about family and a story about this young girl trying to love and be loved. Ward's writing makes you feel like you are there: you smell, you taste, you hear every moment. The tension and anxiety builds from the beginning and then culminates with Hurricane Katrina's arrival.

JCLEmilyD May 11, 2017

This story sticks with you. It's about poverty, teenagers, family, dogs, love, and hurricanes. Written as a family works to prepare for the coming hurricane Katrina. Along with poverty and absent parents the children deal with teenage pregnancy and a dying litter of puppies. The impending tragedy of Katrina keeps you waiting as neglect and despairing poverty intertwine to tell the story of four children.

a
aw1productions
Apr 11, 2017

This book is amazing! Some scenes get pretty gritty (spoiler: dog fighting). But it allowed me to see a different world and walk in someone else's shoes. All the while, I felt the longing of every member of the family. And the author handled the setting and weather extremely well. It felt so real!

h
HollyDavis022
Mar 11, 2016

Paints a disturbing tense picture. Couldn't put it down

m
Mothercat
Nov 15, 2015

Not sure if I enjoyed this or not - quite a sad little story, well written.

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