African American Literature,  America,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  Prize Winner

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward *** (of 4)

bonesA fighting pit bull in southern Louisiana gives birth to puppies.  A black family is squeaking by: Daddy drinks too much; Skeetah only cares about China, the pit bull; Randall is desperate for a basketball scholarship; Junior just wants to play; Momma died right after Junior was born; and Esch is fifteen-years-old and pregnant.  It is hurricane season in the south and while several storms that have preoccupied Daddy have petered out or veered off course, he remains focused on the next one, Katrina.  Jesmyn Ward has put to paper voices of the overlooked in America.  Think of them as Faulkner’s dark-skinned brethren.  The plot builds like a hurricane: slow, swampy, and an occasional puff of air suggesting more ominous events to come, which is to say, it takes some work to keep reading.  When the storm strikes, however, it comes with a viciousness and accuracy that is devastating and captivating.  Winner of the National Book Award.