Book Review: Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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  • Post last modified:November 21, 2017
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Time floods the room in a storm surge.

Author: Jesmyn Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Ratings: 4/5

Summary (As per Goodreads):

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction 2017

A searing and profound Southern odyssey.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.


I loved the cover and title of the book. The story is all about justice, race, grief, Love, loss, family, addictions, and ghosts. Its a beautiful tale of two Mississippi families, one black and one white, joined by Fear and Love.The narrative style of the author is amazing. characters of Leonie and Jojo narrating frequent chapters. The plot and backdrop are just awesome, loved it. The author sets a plot which is very connecting and manages to give importance to each and every character. It is bit heavy read at start but once we connect, it becomes a smooth and easy read. The language that author used is simple and engaging. It makes the story very Interesting. There’s a surprise element in the story every time and makes you curious to know what will happen next.  The Pace of the book is lil slow but connecting to readers.  I loved how the author portrayed each and every emotion very well, be it fear, be it happiness or worries. There are various themes in the story which author has picked and played a great role to make it an interesting read. Overall it’s an intense and a moving story. A story that you cannot miss.
P.S Congratulations for winning national award.

You can get your copy here

*** I received this copy from Publishers in exchange of honest and unbiased review***

Blog by Vidhya Thakkar

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