Sway the Vote — “Salvage the Bones”

New College professor Dr. David Mullins wants to convince you that Salvage the Bones should be the next One Book. He sent us this:

Salvage the Bones is a tale, beautifully told by Jesmyn Ward. The main story centers about a very poor family living in coastal Mississippi struggling to survive, who eventually must deal with the powerful storm surge of Katrina.  The story is derived from the author’s personal experiences.  The beauty of the story largely comes from the author’s ability to bring each character to life.  Each character has a plan of escape from their hardship – the teenage girl Esch through her books (her current fascination is with Jason and Medea), her brother Randall through a basketball scholarship, her brother Skeetah through raising pit bulls.  The youngest brother Junior escapes under the house, and the Father escapes through the bottle as well as through memories of his wife.  By the end, all dreams are broken, the last being crushed by the storm.  Yet, the family somehow feels stronger than at the start.  And that is the magic of the book.

What do you think? Is it time to cast your vote for Salvage the Bones?

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One thought on “Sway the Vote — “Salvage the Bones”

  1. Salvage the Bones may be Jesmyn Ward’s first novel, but what a novel.Each character is as alive as any ever put to a page, from the dog, China, and her dog fights, to the father, and his inability to cope as a widowed father of four. It’s not a pretty story filled with flowers and perfumes, but a story of poverty and strength, hope and love, climaxing as the winds and waters of Katrina send the family into the swirling waters and howling winds to find their own salvation from the storm.Just like it seemed to all of those who survived the Storm, the days leading up to it were bigger than life, filled with the little things that made life normal as well as preparation for the storm’s arrival. Just like reality, no one expected Katrina to deliver the blow it did. From Esch’s pregnancy, their father’s accident, the dog China and her pups, and the tragedy of youth, each character colors the tale and brings it to life.No one knew when the storm came that it was going to have the raw power it possessed. Caught in the attic, the storm surge rising, the reality of potentially drowning in their own attic grasps their attention, and in a desperate bid to find safety, a hole is smashed through the roof, and their escape is plotted. It’s not without risk, and it comes with loss, but the family all make it to their temporary haven.It’s a powerful story,but its not a pretty story. It ends in the chaos and confusion of the first post-storm days after Katrina, with food and water in desperate shortage and yet it finds the grace and beauty that the best of humanity possesses. It has a real-ness about it that is rare, and the book is one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time.I highly recommend it.

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