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Salvage the Bones: A Novel Hardcover – 3 Oct 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (3 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608195228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608195220
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Where the Line Bleeds was an Essence Magazine Book Club selection, a Black Caucus of the ALA Honor Award recipient, and a finalist for both the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

A fresh new voice in American literature, Ward unflinchingly describes a world full of despair but not devoid of hope. (PW Starred review for Where the Line Bleeds)

Her prodigious talent and fearless portrayal of a world too often overlooked make her novel a powerful choice. (Essence for Where the Line Bleeds)

A richly textured tale...like the best fiction, it creates its own world. (Susan Larson, N.O. Times-Picayune for Where the Line Bleeds)

A remarkable first novel...a lyrical, clear-eyed portrait of a rural South and an African-American reality that are rarely depicted. (Boston Globe for Where the Line Bleeds)

Book Description

A stunning new voice from the Gulf Coast delivers a gritty but tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BristolCarol on 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AppleCider on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WandaSpong on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bobbie on 23 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
Hurricane Katrina is coming, a destitute, motherless family is trying to prepare for it, the 15-year-old daughter is pregnant and the dog's puppies are dying. The love relationship between Skeeter and his unpleasant dog is compelling, and the last two chapters, describing the storm and its aftermath are very good, but the story doesn't quite come to anything and the whole thing is far too self-consciously `writerly'. I'm afraid that too many people have told Jesmyn Ward that she writes beautifully, and too few that she should murder her darlings, that less is more, or that the point of a simile is to have us see the thing itself more acutely. Here, the insistent, far-fetched similes and fussy logging of movement, expression and appearance are irritants that make it harder to see. A writer with great potential if she can find a good story and get out of its way.
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