Author(s): Jesmyn Ward
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power - and limitations - of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. 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 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 brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
A searing and profound odyssey bringing the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. An essential contribution to American literature
Longlisted for the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction
A searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed, and anyone who assumes the ghosts of the past are easy to placate. It's hard to imagine a more necessary book for this political era -- Celeste Ng, author of 'Everything I Never Told You'
Speaks to maintaining hope in the face of one's plight, and the true strength (and fragility) of familial bonds * Buzzfeed *
The pages fly past with heart-stopping intensity... Ward writes like a dream. A real dream: uneasy, vivid and deep as the sea - praise for Salvage the Bones * The Times
* A taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written. It feels fresh and urgent, but it's an ancient, archetypal tale - praise for Salvage the Bones * New York Times
* It's hard not to read the final pages in a greedy frenzy ... There's something of Faulkner to Ward's grand diction, which rolls between teenspeak and the larger, incantatory rhythms of myth - praise for Salvage the Bones -- Olivia Laing * Guardian
* The connection between the injustices of the past and the desperation of present are clearly drawn in Sing, Unburied, Sing, a book that charts the lines between the living and the dead, the loving and the broken. I am a huge fan of Jesmyn Ward's work, and this book proves that she is one of the most important writers in America today -- Ann Patchett
Sing, Unburied, Sing is a road novel turned on its head, and a family story with its feet to the fire. Lyric and devastating, Ward's unforgettable characters straddle past and present in this spellbinding return to the rural Mississippi of her first book. You'll never read anything like it -- Ayana Mathis, author of 'The Twelve Tribes of Hattie'
If Sing, Unburied, Sing is proof of anything, it's that when it comes to spinning poetic tales of love and family, and the social metastasis that often takes place but goes unspoken of in marginalized communities-let alone the black American South-Jesmyn Ward is, by far, the best doing it today. Another masterpiece -- Jason Reynolds, author of 'Ghost'
Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She lives in Mississippi with her family. @jesmimi