- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus; 01 edition (2 Nov. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408891042
- ISBN-13: 978-1408891049
- Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 3.2 x 14.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sing, Unburied, Sing: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 Hardcover – 2 Nov 2017
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However, it came up on so many best-book lists (well, all of them really....) and so I had to see what the hype was about.
And it just wowed me from page 1. As other reviews note, it is slow paced and you might get frustrated with lack of storyline. What keeps you reading is simply the amazing writing and the deep, deep characters.
The parts of the story narrated by JoJo, I found the most enjoyable. Initially I wasn't convinced by his voice, as he seemed wise beyond his years.
"I like to think I know what death is. I like to think it is something I could look at straight."
But it became clear that JoJo was an old soul; having the responsibility of looking after his baby sister and mother; coupled with the family gift will inevitably age your soul.
Leonie the neglectful mother, poisoning everything she touches was a character throughout I kept wondering why she was the way she was. She was unable to place her children's needs before her own:
"She hates me," I say. "No, she loves you. She don't know how to show it. And her love for herself and her love for Michael - well, it gets in the way. It confuse her."
Leonie was desperate to be seen beyond her skin, and once she was she literally lost herself:
"… from the first moment I saw him walking across the grass to where I sat in the shadow of the school sign, he saw me. Saw past skin the colour of unmilked coffee, eyes black, lips the colour of plums, and saw me."
Ward illustrated through Leonie that she was never far away from growth and never far away from decay.
"Growing up out here in the country taught me things. Taught me that after the first fat flush of life, time eats away at things: it rusts machinery, it matures animals to become hairless and featherless, and it withers plants [...] since Mama got sick, I learned pain can do that too."
From the afterlife, Richie is able to voice the injustice, racism and the lynching he experienced. As well as hold the present to account.
Additionally through the road trip, Ward highlights the present day racial profiling.
If you enjoy stories about dysfunctional families this one is definitely for you. Unexpectedly I wasn't left feeling sad or depressed, I almost felt at peace with its ending.
Add to this an exploration of relationships between parents and children young siblings. This is a novel that is just superb and highly recommended.
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