Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Salvage the Bones: 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

Our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

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.

Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
You have 8 highlighted passages

He is really the color of the red earth after someone has dug in it to plant a field or pull up stones or put in a body. It is Mississippi red.Read more at location 131
Manny was holding the ball as tenderly as he would a pit puppy with pedigree papers. I wanted him to touch me that way.Read more at location 151
I clung like a monkey to Mama, my legs and arms wrapped around her softness, and I cried, love running through me like a hard, blinding summer rain.Read more at location 851
Daddy is wiggling from underneath the truck. It bulks over him like the rest of the detritus in the yard: refrigerators rusted so that they look like deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika, pieces of engines, a washing machine so old it has an arm that swished the clothes around and looks like a handheld cake mixer.Read more at location 1289
There is a movement behind my breast that feels like someone has turned a hose on full blast, and the water that has been baking in the pump in the summer heat floods out, scalding. This is love, and it hurts. Manny never looks at me.Read more at location 1357
“Why?” Daddy breathes to Randall and Big Henry standing over him, the blood sluicing down his forearm. They are gripping Daddy’s wrist, trying to stop the bleeding. Skeetah is punching the metal he meets. China is bloody-mouthed and bright-eyed as Medea. If she could speak, this is what I would ask her: Is this what motherhood is?Read more at location 1885
The waiting room was scrubbed clean and pale; it smelled of Pine-Sol, coffee, and weariness.Read more at location 1907
I will tie the glass and stone with string, hang the shards above my bed, so that they will flash in the dark and tell the story of Katrina, the mother that swept into the Gulf and slaughtered. Her chariot was a storm so great and black the Greeks would say it was harnessed to dragons. She was the murderous mother who cut us to the bone but left us alive, left us naked and bewildered as wrinkled newborn babies, as blind puppies, as sun-starved newly hatched baby snakes. She left us a dark Gulf and salt-burned land. She left us to learn to crawl. She left us to salvage. Katrina is the mother we will remember until the next mother with large, merciless hands, committed to blood, comes.Read more at location 3691

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