Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing came very highly recommended from a number of great book sites and it’s an award winner. Ward has also won for her previous work and all of this gave me high expectations. Sing, Unburied, Sing delivered. I have thought long and hard about the book because it feels wrong to say I enjoyed it – more that it felt like it was an important read, an important story and one that has stayed with me since I finished it a couple weeks ago. I write these posts in my head before I ever sit down at my computer and this one has been a bit challenging to write because I haven’t been sure about what I want to say about it.

The Publisher, Simon & Schuster said this about the book:

An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi's past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of

It was all that was described above and it also felt as though each of the narrators is on their own journey, learning about the past and each other and themselves. And thinking about what the future holds. The story is told from the perspective of 13 year old Jojo, his mother, Leonie and a ghost from the past. The ghosts of the past come to life to Jojo and Leonie and you learn about them through story as Jojo recounts tales his grandfather has told him and through Leonie’s thinking. The past and the present seem to collide and demonstrate that the past can’t always be left behind or buried. It’s a powerful and important story.

Jesmyn Ward is also an absolutely beautiful writer. I found myself pausing at sentences and passages throughout the book to re-read and marvel – the way she captured feelings and moments is poetic. I can’t wait to read her other novels because of her lyrical writing and the beautiful, heartbreaking story that is Sing, Unburied, Sing. I urge you to consider it.

K

 

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