Salvage The Bones

Salvage The Bones

A Novel

Book - 2011
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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.

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award

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.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781608195220
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 261 pages ;,22 cm


From the critics

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JCLEmilyD May 11, 2017

This story sticks with you. It's about poverty, teenagers, family, dogs, love, and hurricanes.

Apr 11, 2017

This book is amazing! Some scenes get pretty gritty (spoiler: dog fighting). But it allowed me to see a different world and walk in someone else's shoes. All the while, I felt the longing of every member of the family. And the author handled the setting and weather extremely well. It felt so real!

Mar 11, 2016

Paints a disturbing tense picture. Couldn't put it down

Nov 15, 2015

Not sure if I enjoyed this or not - quite a sad little story, well written.

Aug 02, 2015

Hauntingly beautiful

LPL_KateG Apr 28, 2015

Incredibly powerful novel of community, loss, and hope. Jesmyn Ward is a master of pacing - at times slow and deliberate as a sweltering summer day, at others as fast-paced and intense as a dog fight or a hurricane. Looking forward to reading more by this author!

Dec 19, 2014

A masterful book about a tight-knit African American family living as best they can and facing the onset of Hurricane Katrina. The unity and bond between family members is very uplifting and memorable, along with the close friends of the children. I look forward to more writing by Jesmyn Ward.

JCLHelenH Jan 22, 2014

This was a very difficult book to read. There’s poverty, there’s neglect, there’s dog fighting, and there’s impending tragedy. Then there are the victims fighting against poverty the only way they know how, there are children caring for one another in the absence of caring adults, there’s the beauty of a loving and loyal dog. And then tragedy still.

I rarely seek out author interviews or professional reviews to help me understand. I prefer to let the story tell me what I’m supposed to know. But in the case of Salvage the Bones, reading an interview with Jesmy Ward in "the Paris Review" helped me grasp the importance of her work. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come.

Jan 11, 2014

Beautifully written. The author is extremely talented. The story can be seen as cruel which it is but the relationship between the young boy and his dog and between siblings grabs the heart.

May 13, 2013

*** stars This is an amazing story of an African American family over 12 days of the approach, duration, and aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The teenage daughter is pregnant who finds her heroines in mythology. One brother has a fighting pit bull. Ms. Ward does not pull any punches in describing the brutality of the life of this poor family. It took me a while to engage with the book, but was soon invested in the survival of the family. recommend

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