Salvage the Bones by
Call Number: PS3623.A7323 S36 2012
After three major hurricanes hit parts of the United States far from Oregon last year, it might be timely to revisit one of the best novels ever written about surviving a hurricane. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward was her first novel to receive the National Book Award in 2011.* Hurricane Katrina figures only in the last chapter of the book, which tells the story of a 14 year old African-American girl called Esch, who lives outside of the coastal town of Bois Savage in southern Mississippi. Only her hard-drinking father is worried about the coming hurricane. Esch and her brothers live a hardscrabble life of rural poverty, yet the book is filled with lyrical depictions of their childhood games played in the dried-out pond on their property. Her younger brother, Skeetah, passionately cares for the puppies of China, their white pit bull dog. Esch is pregnant, yet her thoughts are filled with the myth of Medea from Edith Hamilton's Mythology. The children play, the father worries, and Katrina looms throughout the book, but the experience of reading this book is like one's first reading of To Kill a Mockingbird--a wonderful, rich envelopment in a Southern and universal classic.-Doreen Simonsen, Librarian (3/18)
*Her recent novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, just won another National Book Award in 2017, making Jesmyn Ward the first woman author to win two National Book Awards. Ward was also awarded a MacArthur genius grant in 2017.