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Salvage the Bones: A Novel Hardcover – August 30, 2011
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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"This book is impossibly beautiful."—OxfordAmerican.org
About the Author
Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won five Hopwood Awards for essays, drama, and fiction. She has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. She is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds, was an Essence Book Club selection, a Black Caucus of the ALA Honor Award recipient, and a finalist for both the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.
Top Customer Reviews
Salvage the Bones is unlike any novel I've read before. It is so honest, so raw, and at times so painful that I wanted to close the book and run away, but ultimately I was deeply moved by this story. Esch and her family crawled into my heart and their struggles were so palpable that I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and lift them out.
This book is not an easy read. It broke my heart a million times over. China, Skeetah's pit bull, is a fighting dog and as a person who loves pit bulls and has some very close family and friends who have pits as pets, the whole dogfighting business makes me extremely angry. So it was not the best for me to be reading about people fighting these precious, intelligent, loving, sweet animals. This was probably the most difficult aspect of the book for me, although the family does experience the actual hurricane and that portion of the book was hard to read too.Read more ›
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.
China is the snow-white pit bull whom Esch's brother Skeetah treats as lovingly as his own child (even as he trains her to be a fierce fighting dog). China herself has just had puppies, and the novel explicitly links the fates of Esch and China, which I suppose says a lot about what it feels like to be a poor black girl in the South. This book reminded me of both "The Color Purple" (published in 1982) and "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (published in 1937, and definitely my favorite of the three), and I found it kind of sad that Esch's life shared so many similarities with those of Celie and Janie. She struggles with both the same kind of relentless poverty and the same abuses on account of her gender.
One false note I felt the author struck was in endlessly alluding back to the myth of Medea and Jason, which has the effect of jarring the reader out of the story. As a teenage girl you are experiencing everything for the first time, things that (in your mind) no one has ever experienced before, and trying to tie Esch back into ancient Greek myth feels somehow false. This story and its characters are rich enough on their own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book I would put as a must read - it gives poignant insight into the life of a LA family, surrounding Hurricane Katrina, and as someone growing up in Mississippi, I found it to... Read morePublished 20 hours ago by _thehollow
This was a slow burner for me. Considered putting it down for a while, actually did put it down about 40% through, and read another book in the meantime. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Barry
I liked the book but found that the author uses to many metaphors and images that makes the book a bit slow to read.Published 29 days ago by Patricia De Stefano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I bought this book a long time ago, and by the time I started reading it, I didn't remember anything about it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Diann M. Saltman
I have given out this book to people that lived though the flood. Its a good book If I would have designed the cover I would have put a young black girl as a coming of age storyPublished 1 month ago by UmmYa
The best, absolute BEST book I've read since Toni Morrison's "Beloved." Equal in power to Zora Neal Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BK