A National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee
“A brilliant book about beauty and death. The beauty is in the bodies and the voices of the young men she grew up with in the towns of coastal Mississippi, where a kind of de facto segregation persists.”—Los Angeles Times
Jesmyn’s memoir shines a light on the community she comes from, in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, a place of quiet beauty and fierce attachment. Here, in the space of four years, she lost five young men dear to her, including her beloved brother—lost to drugs, accidents, murder, and suicide. Their deaths were seemingly unconnected, yet their lives had been connected, by identity and place, and as Jesmyn dealt with these losses, she came to a staggering truth: These young men died because of who they were and the place they were from, because certain disadvantages breed a certain kind of bad luck. Because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle.
The agonizing reality commanded Jesmyn to write, at last, their true stories and her own. Men We Reaped opens up a parallel universe, yet it points to problems whose roots are woven into the soil under all our feet. “This book reminds us that life is hard, and harder still for those who have to wonder what the value of life is . . . Ward’s words are heavy, profoud, and honest. They take us beyond the news headlines that often strip young black men of their humanity.”—Antwaun Sargent, Chicago Tribune
Jesmyn Ward received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, the latter of which won the 2011 National Book Award. Ward lives DeLisle, Mississippi.
Men We Reaped has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:
Tulane University (LA); University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; University of Mississippi School of Medicine