Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.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 por...

Details Sing, Unburied, Sing

TitleSing, Unburied, Sing
Release DateSep 5th, 2017
Number of pages304 pages
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Cultural, African American, Adult

Reviews Sing, Unburied, Sing

  • Fran
    Adult responsibility should not consume the life of a thirteen year old. Jojo's family lives in poverty along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Once Jojo had a mama (Leonie) who attended to him and watched TV with him. He stopped calling her mama after she started snorting crushed pills. His father, Michael, is jailed in Parchman farm, The Mississippi State Penitentiary.Jojo has a dual role as surrogate parent to toddler sister Kayla and as future h...
  • Sam
    Sometimes, the world don't give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes, it withholds. There are many novels I enjoy, love, praise, wax rhapsodically about. But fewer works of fiction do I find to be important, books for our time now, getting into issues and ideas and peoples and places underrepresented or not represented well and bringing enlightenment or at least understanding as well as entertainment. For the second straight ...
  • Michael
    This story examines the role of family in sustaining the struggles and tragedies associated with poverty and racial injustice in the rural South, the Gulf Coast Mississippi in particular. The black partriarch of this particular family, River, maintains his integrity and scrapes by with gardening and raising pigs and goats. Unfortunately, his beloved wife is dying of cancer, and his daughter, Leonie, who has been staying with them with her childre...
  • Rachel León
    I know it's early to call it, but this novel will likely end up as my favorite read of 2017. I've loved everything I've read by Jesmyn Ward. Since reading her work for the first time, I knew she was smart, talented, and capable of writing something devastating in its brilliance. And SING, UNBURIED, SING is just that. It would be unjust if this novel doesn't end up being nominated for--and winning-- several awards. This novel is primarily narrated...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    When I was thinking about words to describe the forces and feelings of SING, UNBURIED, SING, the ones that immediately came to mind were "ache" and "weight." Each character here experiences a deep ache from the things they've lost and the things they worry they still have to lose, and that ache has been there so long that it exerts a palpable burden on how they live and look at the world. The family at the center of the story comes together and p...
  • Imi
    I read Ward's Salvage the Bones very recently and despite enjoying it immensely and being very impressed by most of it, I didn't think it was perfect. Well, let me tell you, Sing, Unburied, Sing is (in my personal opinion) perfect. I feel very grateful to have been given the chance to read this wonderful, beautiful book before its publication, and to be able to recommend it whole-heartedly to others. I really hope it's going to be a success once ...
  • Mars
    This is a powerful voice in literary fiction and painfully raw story of a 13-year black boy, Jojo, who is shouldering the supernatural and adult world simultaneously, in other words has too much food on his plate. The writing is exquisitely crafted, like every word of every story is ready to pack an emotional punch.Sometimes, the world don't give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes, it withholds. After his Leonie (his mother...
  • Antoinette
    4.5 Stars.Brilliant book. The writing is exquisite- .."her voice was a fishing line thrown so weakly the wind catches it" The descriptions were so visceral that I could feel my body react and recoil. This book opened my eyes to a world I have never been part of- a world filled with need and hunger.; a world filled with brutality. My heart ached for JoJo and his sister Kayla and for their maternal grandparents, who always tried to live honourably....
  • Renee
    Sing, Unburied, Sing presents a way of life that will be unfamiliar to many of its readers. A life in which addiction rules and heartbreak abounds. Jesmyn Ward presents themes and ideas, however, that are as relevant today as they ever have been; racism, injustices in the prison system, police treatment of minorities, and how the past shapes the present. This is the story of a family living in poverty along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.Through m...
  • Columbus
    What is it about me and the books of Jesmyn Ward? Both Salvage the Bones and now Sing, Unburied, Sing appear to be just the types of books that I would really enjoy. Both books are not just well written but beautifully written, with a deep South setting and ruminations on race and family, love and truth and lots more. For some reason these books do not work for me and I can't figure out why. The majority of this book takes place on the road. A ro...
  • Andrew Barnes
    Jesmyn Ward's latest Sing, Unburied, Sing truly sings, a triumphant song at that. It is an assured book that's haunted characters will haunt its reader long after they set the book down. Mournful and sad, it still manages to convey light and hope. A slim book with big ideas, gracefully touches on race (interracial relationships, white privilege, police brutality) , how prison in many ways is slavery with another name, and how the specter of our p...
  • Andre
    Stunningly rendered. At the risk of being oxymoronic, sad tale but beautifully written is the most apt description I can give of this novel. Your heart will absolutely ache for Jojo, i.e. Joseph. Jesmyn is certainly at the top of her game with Sing, Unburied, Sing. She sets this novel in the Mississippi Delta, and we have two main narrators Leonie, the young mother and Jojo her thirteen year old son, and a third narrator who leads three chapters ...
  • Aaron
    Careful now. This one might kick your teeth in when you're not looking, leave you in cold sweats, hoping and praying everyone pulls through. Jesmyn Ward's writing is sharp enough that she does damage before you realize you've been cut; nobody walks away from this one unscathed. A word of warning: the book opens with the butchering of a goat, warm sticky spurts of stuff you might not wanna read about, like peeling flesh and stinking viscera, which...
  • Paris (Paperback Paris)
    6/5 stars (screw mathematics)On the cusp of manhood, 13 year old Jojo is made to inherit many of his family’s millstones: his grandparents’ grief; surrogate fatherhood of his infant sister; his rueful black mother, Leonie, menaced by visions of the undead, ever-poising herself for the final nosedive into irreversible nothingness; and the guilt of his newly-unfettered white father, Michael, who wrestles unremittingly to save her.As this was my...
  • Chris
    Oh but hoo-wee this book goddam.I read this in two staggered gasps--the first two-thirds and then the last--which is often a recipe for a "bad read" for me, the kind where I lost track of details in the yawning interim and feel untethered as I finish, but this had me in its talons from the jump. By page 50, I knew I wanted to teach this book; by page 150 I stopped reading so I could go buy her other books. Am I just in the rush of this right now?...
  • Cindy
    Jesmyn Ward is a superb Writer. Every time I read her works I am moved in ways I never thought possible. It is uncanny how she is able to capture the reality of black minority in the South. This was a hard read for me, it is one of those books you have to take your time reading because it is overflowing with hurt, loss, disappointment and a lot of subliminal messages. I honestly felt weighed down reading this book and I guess in a way Ward did he...
  • Gabrielle
    I had been craving a book that would touch me and remind me of home and of family: Sing, Unburied, Sing is it. It is a story of Southern boyhood, regret, longing, and family. The book reminded me quite a bit of Toni Morrison's work - lyrical and mythical without being overbearing. This book really is Jesmyn Ward at her best. I am still trying to unpack all of my thoughts. A fuller review is forthcoming.Thank you to Scribner and Net Galley for an ...
  • Emily-Jo
    I will be publishing a full review in September, close to this book's release date. For now I will say that it was stunning; one of the best books I've ever read. Borrows much from the tradition of Toni Morrison's magic realist 'rememories' of the scars left on generations of American families by slavery, racism, Jim Crow, but brought forward into the all-too-present. Prose so beautiful you'll gasp. Characters aching with feeling. If it doesn't w...
  • Christina
    Heartbreaking and visceral, Sing, Unburied, Sing is an emotional journey, deep into the South and the roots tangled and burrowing down. This story is a melancholy cacophony of lamentations underneath the simple story of a thirteen-year-old boy and his dysfunctional parents, covering a rather short period of time with the main narrative. This story reaches inside, grabs hold, and pulls you along for its tragic journey. Ward's writing is a soothing...
  • Sara
    A haunted family- haunted by a violent past, racism, substance abuse. Ward doesn't shy away from heavy topics. Fans of Salvage the Bones will enjoy this one.
  • Casey
    By all means, most of Sing, Unburied, Sing could be summarized in a few short sentences. A young mother who is more interested in drugs than parenting drags a coworker and her children along when their father is due to be released from prison. Meanwhile, her mother suffers from cancer that has nearly finished its destructive path, and her father harbors a dark secret. But that simple summary would discount the magical language that Ward uses to c...
  • Julie
    Few books have been able to affect me like "Sing, Unburied, Sing" ("A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry was the last one). As a reader, you are pulled into this other world where you otherwise would never wish to go, a world filled with abuse, death, drugs, illness, poverty and racial divide. Fortunately, family and love give glimpses of hope, intensifying the struggle of each character. Every chapter is narrated in first-person by a rotating cast...
  • Leslynn
    Copy courtesy of NetGalleyI really enjoyed the base story of this novel, but the various dangling thread and parallel tales just seemed like overkill. Maybe I'm a neanderthal, but the literal spiritual aspects within the book detracted from the amazingly intricate, well-developed and believable characters and their relationships to each other. Sometimes, simple is best.
  • Mary
    I was so excited to see a new Jessmyn Ward book available for review. I could not put this book down--even though it hurt to read in so many places. Ward creates a beautiful, magical, realistic, painful, and true world. Her sparse cast of characters weave a story of love and loss and anger and pain, but there is real hope in the narrative, as well.
  • Kelly
    Ward's prose will knock the breath out of you. She writes so deftly about difficult love: love for those that we've lost, love for ones that do us harm, and the fact that love isn't always enough.I loved this book so much that it"s hard to put it into words. It cements her place as one of the most important American writers.Thanks to the publisher for the book in exchange for an honest review.
  • Anne Foster
    What a lovely, lyrical novel! While heartbreaking at times, it speaks of the human condition and the depths of love and grief. When drug-addicted Leonie's white husband is released from prison, she bundles up her son and daughter and they embark on a journey that is both dark and hopeful. Leonie has visions of her dead brother when she's high and son, Jojo cares for little sister, Kayla while on their way to Parchman. While not all the characters...
  • blacksmith
    I read everything Jesmyn Ward I could get my hands on last year, so when I saw that "Sing, Unburied, Sing" was available on NetGalley (thank you for the advanced copy!) I jumped at the opportunity to dive in. Ward has quickly become my favorite storyteller. This particular story is filled with family, racism, substance abuse, death, injustice, and ghosts. It is centered in the south―Mississippi, where Ward herself is from and where most of her ...
  • Shalea
    I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Sing, Unburied, Sing was both heartbreaking and so real in today's youth are forced to grow up far too soon. Many adults do not realize they are placing these responsibilities on their children until it is too late. Place abandonment, neglect and irresponsibility and you have a recipe for disaster (both future and present). I truly enjoyed this novel and will su...
  • Rachel Stansel
    A dark, but touching story set in Mississippi. Joseph, Jojo and his 3 year old sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Their mom, who comes and goes, is the drug addicted Leonie who sees visions of her dead brother Given when she's high. His death is haunting. Meanwhile, Mam is dying of cancer and Pop is trying to be a good father to his grandchildren. His stories of life on Parchman fa...
  • Gretchen
    Jesmyn Ward's new novel hearkens back to the incredible intimacy, impact, and import of Morrison's Beloved. Ward's prose is sinewy, unsentimental, and perfectly balanced, her characters whole and presented with unflinching brutal honesty, her themes of the costs of historical slavery, the layered cruelties of modern-day racism, and the deleterious effects of racism, drugs, poverty, and incarceration on a family held together by secrets, guilt, lo...