Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward. In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi's past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature"--
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2017.
ISBN: 9781501126062
1501126067
Branch Call Number: FIC WARD
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 22 cm

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Hillsboro_JeanineM Jun 23, 2020

Clear your schedule so that you can read this book uninterrupted. It is a beautifully written with well-developed characters. It is a generational story with ghosts and folk remedies. You can feel the humidity. It brought to mind Nina Simone singing "Mississippi goddamn" and a road trip I took through the South many years ago.

j
JoyERancatore
Jun 10, 2020

Jesmyn Ward has a gift for presenting the horrors of our world in such a captivating, haunting manner, her reader cannot leave the final page the same person he or she was at its first.

Sing, Unburied, Sing uncovers the realities of drug use's effects on users, their families and their communities as well as the far-reaching effects of racism and injustice on society.

I love the way Jesmyn wove the three first-person narrators through the book. I found myself empathizing and sympathizing with all three. As with her other books, this is a hard, hard story to witness, but it is one we all need to read and understand and commit to change.

p
posie12
Dec 12, 2019

So depressing. Child abuse. child neglect, animal abuse, meth manufacturing, cocaine use. I couldn't finish it.

multcolib_susannel Sep 07, 2019

Vibrant writing, complex characters and dark secrets tell this compelling story of three generations of an African-American family in Mississippi.

v
vkreads
Aug 10, 2019

This book the National Book Award.
I appreciated reading what might be called 'spoken dialect' of the characters. If only the slaughtering of the goat for food had been placed later in the book, after establishing the characters more deeply within their living situation.
I stopped reading at pg 50. I had given the story a fair enough chance.

West also won National Book Award for a previous book. Salvage the Bones

f
firefly5
Apr 12, 2019

The boy helps his granddad kill a goat, very bloody and graphic. Then the grandad carries the liver to the house to cook for his wife. Oh my goodness, almost made me gag. There are better books to read.

WPLBookClub Feb 28, 2019

The Whistler Public Library & Armchair Books Community Book Club discussed Sing, Unburied, Sing as our Black History Month pick. We had a great chat about this book - opinions varied widely, but everyone had thoughts and questions to share, regardless of whether they "enjoyed" the story.

Some highlights of our discussion (no spoilers!):
- The supernatural elements of the story - the passing along of certain powers/abilities from generation to generation; the role played by ghosts, and whether or not they improved or detracted from the story
- Leonie's parenting skills, or lack thereof - what circumstances in her life lead her to be so negligent?
- Misty's role as Leonie's white friend, and the ways her privilege makes life easier for her

j
jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2017

c
ckalland
Dec 24, 2018

Outstanding. A bit mysterious.

d
dtbutler
Nov 12, 2018

This book shook me from start to finish. Thankful for writers like Jesmyn Ward giving a voice to the voiceless.

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ranvapa
Mar 17, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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abbi_g
Dec 27, 2018

He wasn't nothing but a boy, Jojo. They kill animals better than that.

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