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Sing, Unburied, Sing
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Sing, Unburied, Sing
A Novel
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*WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for FICTION *A TIME MAGAZINE BEST NOVEL OF THE YEAR and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 OF 2017 *Finalist for the Kirkus Prize *Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal...
*WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for FICTION *A TIME MAGAZINE BEST NOVEL OF THE YEAR and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 OF 2017 *Finalist for the Kirkus Prize *Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal...
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  • *WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for FICTION
    *A TIME MAGAZINE BEST NOVEL OF THE YEAR and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 OF 2017
    *Finalist for the Kirkus Prize
    *Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
    *Publishers Weekly Top 10 of 2017


    "The heart of Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing is story—the yearning for a narrative to help us understand ourselves, the pain of the gaps we'll never fill, the truths that are failed by words and must be translated through ritual and song...Ward's writing throbs with life, grief, and love, and this book is the kind that makes you ache to return to it." —Buzzfeed
    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. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi's past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

    Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn't lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won't acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

    His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister's lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children's father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

    When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

    Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an unforgettable family story.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the winner of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) and Salvage the Bones (2011). She is also the author of the novel Where the Line Bleeds and the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 3, 2017
    Ward (Salvage the Bones) tells the story of three generations of a struggling Mississippi family in this astonishing novel. “We don’t walk no straight lines. It’s all happening at once. All of it. We all here at once.” This is the explanation 13-year-old Jojo is provided by his grandmother, the family matriarch, on her deathbed. “I’ll be on the other side of the door,” she reassures him, “With everybody else that’s gone before.” Jojo and his little sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, while Leonie, their mother, drifts in and out of their lives, causing chaos. Snorting coke one night, Leonie explains, “A clean burning shot through my bones, and then I forgot. The shoes I didn’t buy, the melted cake...” Leonie wants to be a better mother, and when Jojo’s and Kayla’s father is released from prison, Leonie takes the kids with her, hoping for a loving reunion, but what she gets instead is a harrowing drive across a muggy landscape haunted by hatred. Throughout the novel, though, are beautifully crafted moments of tenderness. When the dead, including Leonie’s murdered brother, make their appearances and their demands, no one in the family’s surprised. But their stories are deeply affecting, in no small part because of Ward’s brilliant writing and compassionate eye.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ward's latest novel takes the heroic quest motif, adds ghost story elements, and then plunges into contemporary America's battle with poverty and addiction. There is a truth and grittiness here that narrators Kelvin Harrison, Rutina Wesley, and Chris Chalk enhance significantly with their powerful talents. Thirteen-year-old Jojo's voice is both innocent of and sadly experienced in the ways of his Mississippi home and family. His addict mother, Leonie, possesses a voice that is at once dreamy and calculating. The practical wisdom in the tone of Richie, the dead boy who contributes to this portrait, seals the listener's fate, making this audiobook impossible to silence. All in all, this excellent novel makes for exceptional listening. L.B.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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