Winner of the National Book Award
“A taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written. It feels fresh and urgent . . . Jesmyn Ward makes beautiful music, plays deftly with her reader’s expectations.”
—The New York Times Book Review
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. 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 their 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. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Award and was a finalist for both the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.
Salvage the Bones has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:
Adelphi University (NY); Alabama State University; Christian Brothers University (TN); Florida A&M University; Hampton University (VA); Rhodes College (TN); Rocky Mountain College (MT); Rutgers University, Douglass College (NJ); Salem College (NC); Stanford University (CA); University of Alaska, Anchorage; Vanderbilt University (TN); Xavier University of Louisiana