Read It Because: You will be reminded of both the devastating scope and power of Hurricane Katrina but also of the largely forgotten swathes of the American population.
There are some great books that I read and I think to myself: I could write something like this someday (as an aspiring writer). These storylines and worlds are one which I have lived or could imagine living. Salvage the Bones is NOT one of those books. Jesmyn Ward creates a world and captures its dialogue and cultural inner monologue with a level of detail and tenderness that will keep its characters alive in your thoughts long after you've finished the novel.
It's been more than a decade since the costliest hurricane in the US history ravaged the United States. I missed this weighty novel when it was published in 2011, joining an expansive family of "Katrina fiction." While the hurricane plays a pivotal role in the story, its presence remains lurking on the periphery for the bulk of the narrative. Instead, Ward draws the reader inside the community surrounding a poor backwoods southern family. It's easy to forget that these communities still exist at this level of poverty in America--in that vein it reminded me of Winter's Bone (I only saw the incredible movie, but I've heard the book upon which the film was based is equally amazing).
Ward's artistry is most strikingly displayed in how she somehow manages to humanize a character that dogfights his nursing pitbull. Don't think that's possible? I dare you to read the book and disagree!
Ultimately, Ward pens a timeless tale about family, loss, longing, love and death that stands as a masterpiece for the foreseeable future.