cover image Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesmyn Ward, read by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley, and Chris Chalk. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-3754-9

A trio of performers demonstrate their considerable vocal talents in the audio edition of the latest from National Book Award–winner Ward (for Salvage the Bones). The novel’s multithreaded structure may take a bit of time for listeners to grasp, particularly given that one of the three narrators is the ghost of Richie, a teen prisoner who was murdered many decades earlier. The other two protagonists—a 13-year-old boy named Jojo and his drug-addicted mother, Leonie—interact with both the living and the dead in their daily lives in a narrative that links past racial violence with a current family crisis. The elements eventually meld together seamlessly. Jojo’s lingering sense of innocence and earnestness on the cusp of manhood shines through in the gentle cadence of Harrison’s voice. Actor Wesley brings both edge and vulnerability to her smoky-voiced portrayal of Leonie. The listening experience requires attention to detail, but the solid performances are a great match for the material. A Scribner hardcover. (Sept.)