Salvage the Bones

Jesmyn Ward, Author
Jesmyn Ward. Bloomsbury, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-1-60819-522-0
Reviewed on: 05/23/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2361-3
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-60819-627-2
Paperback - 271 pages - 978-1-60819-626-5
Hardcover - 405 pages - 978-1-4104-4711-1
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-1-4088-2700-0
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Ward's poetic second novel (after Where the Line Bleeds) covers the 12 days leading up to Hurricane Katrina via the rich, mournful voice of Esch Batiste, a pregnant 14-year-old black girl living with her three brothers and father in dire poverty on the edge of Bois Sauvage, Miss. Stricken with morning sickness and dogged by hunger, Esch helps her drunken father prepare their home for the gathering storm. She also looks after seven-year-old Junior while her oldest brother, Randall, trains to win a scholarship to basketball camp, and middle son Skeet devotes himself to delivering and raising his fighting bitch China's pit bull puppies. All the while, Esch ponders whether she will have the baby and yearns for its father to love her "once he learns [her] secret." Esch traces in the minutiae of every moment of every scene of her life the thin lines between passion and violence, love and hate, life and death, and though her voice threatens to overpower the story, it does a far greater service to the book by giving its cast of small lives a huge resonance. (Sept.)
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