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Salvage the Bones [Paperback]

Jesmyn Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 April 2012

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. He's a hard drinker, largely absent, and it isn't often he worries about the family. Esch and her three brothers are stocking up on food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; at fifteen, she has just realized that she's pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pit bull's new litter, dying one by one. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to a dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family - motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting

and nurturing where love is scarce - pulls itself up to face another day.



Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140882700X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408827000
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Beautifully written ... A powerful depiction of grinding poverty, where somehow amid the deprivation, the flame of filial affection survives and a genuine spirit of community is able to triumph over everything the system and nature can throw at it (Daily Mail)

Masterful... Salvage the Bones has the aura of a classic about it (Washington Post)

A brilliantly pacy adventure-story as the family battles to escape the rising tide. The pages fly past with heart-stopping intensity... Ward writes like a dream. A real dream: uneasy, vivid and deep as the sea (The Times)

The novel's hugeness of heart and fierceness of family grip hold on like Skeetah's pit bull (Oprah Magazine)

Book Description

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. 27 May 2012
Format:Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this gritty book, it is very well written, makes you feel as if you are there.
I couldn't wait to get back to it. Reminded me somewhat of the way 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is written.
Highly recommend.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful yet heartbreaking 14 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book because it won a prize in the USA. I intended to give it to my 23 year old niece for Christmas but on flicking through it, I found scenes of dog fighting and a couple having sex in the toilet. So I found her a safer gift.

Nevertheless, I wanted to read the book myself, as it was recommended. It is the story of a black American family in the days preceding Hurricane Katrina. The ending was the most amazing bit - the Hurricane does not actually hit until the final chapter. In the preceding chapters, we get to know narrator Esch, and her brothers Skeetah, who owns a dog named China, Randall, the eldest who dreams of being in a college basketball team, and the baby of the family Junior. The book opens with China giving birth to puppies, and the young people working together to look after them. The family live in the Southern USA, and the muddy/dusty surroundings, their shack-like home in the "Pit" among trees, and the heat and sweat dominate the narrative. The children's mother died giving birth to Junior, and their father is a bit of a bully, and an alcoholic. So the children look after each other, Randall often behaving like a father, and everyone looking out for one another. Skeetah is the first to realise Esch is in love, and pregnant. Yet it is all told in a matter of fact, down to earth way, not at all sentimental.

The relationship between the young men of the district, and their relationship with their dogs is well described. Although I find the thought of dog fighting distasteful, in fact the dogs do not seem to fight to the death, the boys call a halt and tend to their wounds in most cases.

I would be interested to know how accurate a depiction of life in the USA this is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read 7 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback
If you're looking for a good read I can highly recommend "Salvage the Bones" by Jesmyn Ward. It focuses on a family living in the poor suburbs of New Orleans in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

The story is told through the eyes of fifteen year old Esch Batiste who is going through the pangs of unrequited teenage love. Her brother, Skeetah is looking after his beloved dog's new puppies that he aims to sell for a fortune. Randall is trying to get into a basketball league team.

Meanwhile "Daddy" is in the background getting ready for the hurricane. The rest of the family are used to hurricanes - they get at least two a year. The worst hurricane they can remember was a grade three when they were children. Hurricane Katrina is a grade five. When it finally arrives the suspense is incredible.

This is the story about loyalty to family winning out against the odds. Jesmyn Ward is a highly talented writer with a good ear for dialogue and a fresh approach to imagery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars really good read 21 Mar 2014
By Julie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a good read, though a bit disturbing at times especially for dog lovers who may be upset by the description of the dog fighting
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