Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Salvage the Bones

Book description

_______________ 'A brilliantly pacy adventure story ... Ward writes like a dream' - The Times 'Fresh and urgent' - New York Times 'There's something of Faulkner to Ward's grand diction' - Guardian _______________ WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Hurricane Katrina is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Salvage the Bones as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

When I read this for the second time- I again fell into the story, completely absorbed in the language and the main character, fourteen-year-old Esch.

I loved how she loved her brothers and how they loved her back in such real and relatable ways. I believed in her pregnancy and in her poverty. I felt the suspense and drama of Hurricane Katrina getting stronger and coming closer, even as the family struggled with their more everyday problems and needs. I loved the lush and vivid descriptions of nature.

I felt I was there, experiencing this with these people. This is…

People’s stories show disasters’ costs better than accounting for how much money they cost or how many people died, the common metrics used in public policy, including during the pandemic. These measures miss the long histories, with disaster as one event in lives that precede it and continue after.

In her poetic novel, Jesmyn Ward details stories of a family living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the days before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, and in its immediate aftermath. By the time the storm strikes, everything that has preceded it makes sense of the family’s being left behind with…

Salvage the Bones is a deeply personal, heartbreaking story of Esch and her siblings navigating life as Hurricane Katrina approaches. But more than the chaos of nature’s fury, it is their interior lives—their day-to-day struggles absent any meaningful help from outsiders—that bring Ward’s pages to vivid life. She shows us just how complex growing up can be, especially for a child faced with bringing a new life into the world. And, yes, I’ll leave it there, exhorting you to read Salvage the Bones for more.

Jesmyn Ward’s 2011 National Book Award-winning novel captures young narrator, Esch, and her family in the moments before Hurricane Katrina strikes their home in rural Mississippi. I had never encountered a narrator with such fierceness and complexity before. Told her in poetic, vibrant prose, Esch struggles to prepare her family for the impending storm as she confronts her challenges including the realization that she might be pregnant. I don't think I’ve ever read a book that so brilliantly captured the struggle of family life and how that idea of family plays into our individual sense of survival. By the end…

From Joe's list on complicated families.

When I am asked whether my next book will also be true crime, I say that my wheelhouse isn’t actually true crime but stories about pregnant teenage girls. This extends to my reading material. Salvage the Bones is a heart-stopping novel about a 15-year-old girl being raised by her widowed father in small-town Mississippi. In the calm before Hurricane Katrina, Esch and her three brothers—who alternately play basketball, raise pit bulls to dogfight and get in the way—are only just getting by. But Esch has a secret, which threatens to tip her life into chaos—there’s a baby growing inside of…

From Katherine's list on the complexity of American girlhood.

I read Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones in college, and I marveled over Ward’s ear for language and her attentiveness to the rich emotional lives of her character. A beautiful, big-hearted novel.

From Brit's list on being Black in America.

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