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149 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salvage the Bones is as raw and real as a hurricane, July 1, 2011
This review is from: Salvage the Bones: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Salvage the Bones may be Jesmyn Ward's first novel, but what a novel.

Each character is as alive as any ever put to a page, from the dog, China, and her dog fights, to the father, and his inability to cope as a widowed father of four. It's not a pretty story filled with flowers and perfumes, but a story of poverty and strength, hope and love, climaxing as the winds and waters of Katrina send the family into the swirling waters and howling winds to find their own salvation from the storm.

Just like it seemed to all of those who survived the Storm, the days leading up to it were bigger than life, filled with the little things that made life normal as well as preparation for the storm's arrival. Just like reality, no one expected Katrina to deliver the blow it did. From Esch's pregnancy, their father's accident, the dog China and her pups, and the tragedy of youth, each character colors the tale and brings it to life.

No one knew when the storm came that it was going to have the raw power it possessed. Caught in the attic, the storm surge rising, the reality of potentially drowning in their own attic grasps their attention, and in a desperate bid to find safety, a hole is smashed through the roof, and their escape is plotted. It's not without risk, and it comes with loss, but the family all make it to their temporary haven.

It's a powerful story,but its not a pretty story. It ends in the chaos and confusion of the first post-storm days after Katrina, with food and water in desperate shortage and yet it finds the grace and beauty that the best of humanity possesses. It has a real-ness about it that is rare, and the book is one of the best reads I've had in a long time.

I highly recommend it.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 16, 2011 8:11:58 PM PST
Ashok Banker says:
Great book, terrific review. But it's her second novel. http://jesmimi.blogspot.com/

Posted on Jan 15, 2012 1:00:13 PM PST
M. Parker says:
NOBODY KNEW??????????????????? I dont know what part of the SE US you were in but I evacuated and had plenty of time to do so because I listened to the National Weather Service. Sick of all the poor pitiful people that CHOSE to stay acting as if that did not know it was going to be a dangerous hurricane.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2012 10:52:25 PM PST
This is a novel--if I wrote a book about my personal experiences with Katrina it would be pretty boring, actually.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 11:22:51 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 20, 2012 11:44:12 AM PDT]

Posted on Jan 16, 2014 12:22:33 PM PST
I can't agree on the "real" or "raw" part. It seemed to me kind of obviously the sort of fairly pretentious writing that comes out of a university workshop.
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