Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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"A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward. In Jesmyn Ward's first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi's past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature"-- Provided by publisher.
Living with his grandparents and sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his mother's addictions and his grandmother's cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501126093
Characteristics: 1 online resource (289 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


From Library Staff

National Book Award: Fiction

List - Best of 2017
RCPL_Librarians Nov 26, 2017


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Feb 15, 2018

Jesmyn Ward has quickly become my new writer crush. I could hardly wait to read all of her works. And they never disappoint. Now waiting semi-patiently for the next one.
Note: I tried to give this 5 stars, but was unable to correct. This book is THAT good!

Feb 13, 2018

One of those stories that stay with you. I felt the ending to be underwhelming, there was so much build up to the climax and I felt nearly abandoned by how quickly it ended afterwards. These characters and their stories will stay with you long after the last page is read.

Feb 11, 2018

A heartbreaking comment on the corrosive nature of poverty has on Black bodies, specifically on those inhabited by young man Jojo, his mother and his sister. Told through flashback, too, is the memory of a boy who was destroyed while living in a Southern work prison, and the act of mercy performed by his friend. Makes the assertion that, by and large, life for African Americans has not improved over the last 70 years.

AL_LESLEY Feb 08, 2018

This book is a tough one. Short but full of meaning and feeling. Ward wrote so wonderfully that I could almost see, smell and hear what was written. Some of it was so visceral I felt angry and a bit ill. I wouldn't want to fall into this book for sure but it is definitely amazing.

Feb 08, 2018

I gave this book 1.5 stars. Well written at times, but very sloppy most of the time. This author is over-hyped for someone who has so little talent.

SCL_Justin Jan 25, 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a ghost story. I didn't realize that going in. I thought it was going to be a well-told tale of family life in troubling circumstances in the South, which was definitely the case, but the ghosts were an extra. I enjoyed the complexity of the relationships, and the fraughtness of everything. Not a feelgood book, but who looks to ghost stories to feel good?

Jan 18, 2018

Magical and captivating story of loss and hope.

DBRL_LaurenW Jan 17, 2018

One of the best books I read in 2017. Lyrical and haunting. Ward's prose is beautiful, which makes the novel's ache and sadness bearable.

Jan 12, 2018

I loved the imagery and could not put it down.

Jan 10, 2018

#4 on Entertainment Weekly's Best Books of 2017

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