Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Novel

Book - 2017
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A finalist for the Kirkus Prize and Andrew Carnegie Medal, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, is a "tour de force" ( O, the Oprah Magazine ) and a timeless work of fiction that is destined to become a classic.

Jesmyn Ward's historic second National Book Award-winner is "perfectly poised for the moment" ( The New York Times ), an intimate portrait of three generations of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. "Ward's writing throbs with life, grief, and love... this book is the kind that makes you ache to return to it" ( Buzzfeed ).

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 and unforgettable family story and "an odyssey through rural Mississippi's past and present" ( The Philadelphia Inquirer ).
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501126079
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 23 cm


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Dec 02, 2017

On NYT Ten Best Books of 2017 List.

Oct 29, 2017

This third novel from National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward ("Salvage the Bones") is about parents and children, the weight of history, the way the past crashes into the present, and the legacy of racism. It's a complex, ambitious, and challenging book and one of the best I've read this year. Ward's themes and writing recall greats like Faulkner and Morrison, but the novel feels very much of our time, especially in its treatment of race and racism.

Nicr Oct 27, 2017

"It's all happening at once. All of it. We all here at once." Ghosts walk and are seen; animals speak and are heard. An extraordinary book.

Oct 23, 2017

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

I can't recall where I came across Jesmyn Ward's latest novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing (probably Well-Read Black Girl's instagram page); but I am so glad that I did. This novel captivated me from beginning to end. I loved the story and the characters and their complicated lives. I love how Ward balanced the contemporary and history, weaving together a story that both the young & old can appreciate. I am thankful that I held onto this book 2 days past its due date at my local library lol; just so I could fulfill my commitment to reading it. I highly recommend this novel to anyone that enjoys stories whose plots address our troubled past as a country and how it still affects us in the present.

Oct 15, 2017

Told principally by JoJo, a teenage boy, and his mother, Leonie, in alternating chapters, we hear a lyrical family story set in Gulf Coast Mississippi after the Deepwater Horizon explosion when Leonie ventures upstate to pick-up her children’s father Michael who is being released from prison.

Wondrously told, the author blends the family’s past and present seamlessly, keeping the story’s momentum to its end. Characters are true to life, JoJo’s grandparents have such humanity and love fiercely. No wonder there’s all the buzz for this book short-listed for the National Book Award.

Oct 14, 2017

Fabulous book. It seems the voices and stories of African and Native American stories have been bottled up and aged for so long, that they are now superb vintages for our terrible times. Ms Ward is a great writer, poet really, the lyricism and truth telling so beautifully voiced.

Sep 29, 2017

Another recommended book (although I forget where the recommendation came from) that I really enjoyed. A sad tale that is beautifully written about a family in the Mississippi Delta. The story is told from the point-of-view of both the son (JoJo, a thirteen year old boy) and the mother (Leonie, a drug abuser). It is a story of trying to find a place of love, belonging and home. It was powerful, heartbreaking and meaningful. I would give it a 8 out of 10.

Sep 26, 2017

I listened to this book via audiobook. I found it boring and pedantic. Maybe it was the reader. I really tried to appreciate the positive comments from other reviewers but I just didn't.

Sep 15, 2017

This book is a beauty - rich, deep, and slow, with a touch of bitterness, like fine, dark chocolate. The language is superb, the imagery supports and binds the message effortlessly within the story.

Highly recommended.

LPL_KateG Sep 14, 2017

Jesmyn Ward is the queen of capturing smooth, Southern voices and weaving them into luscious and emotional tales.

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