Sing, Unburied, Sing
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Leonie would like to be a good mother, but she just is not able to. Luckily her two kids Jojo and the toddler Kayla are mainly raised by her parents, Mam and Pop. But now, Mam is in the stadium of cancer and her days are numbered. Additionally, Michael, the kids father, is going to be released from prison after three years behi... Leonie would like to be a good mother, but she just is not able to. Luckily her two kids Jojo and the toddler Kayla are mainly raised by her parents, Mam and Pop. But now, Mam is in the stadium of cancer and her days are numbered. Additionally, Michael, the kids father, is going to be released from prison after three years behind the bars. Leonie is still in love with he, even though Michaels family hates her, especially his father does not want the black woman in a white mans house. And not to forget, it was Michaels family who is responsible for Leonies brothers death. Nevertheless, Leonie takes her kids and her best friend to make a trip to collect Michael. Jojo would prefer to stay with his Mam and Pop, but he is too young to defy his mother. And he has a task to accomplish which can only be done by someone who can listen. Jesmyn Ward, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction, portrays in Sing, Unburied, Sing a family at the point of collapsing. Her description of Leonie, the mother who just isnt a mother, is heart-breaking and upsetting. At times, you just want to slap her and shout at her to take care of her children and of herself. To forget about the good-for-nothing father of her children and his racist family. Her twelve-year-old son not only has to parent the toddler, but also throughout the story seems to be much more mature than his mother and remarkably more reasonable and wiser. The only solace when it comes to the kids is the fact that their grand-parents are fond of them and raise them with tenderness and affection. It is hard to read about such a mother, but, on the other hand, it seems to be very realistic. These women who always dream of a better life with the man they love and ignore the painful reality do exist, if we like it or not. Apart from the outstanding character-painting, Ward novel plays with the supernatural. Yet, it is not that unbelievable fictitious creation of fantasy, much more does she derive her idea from some kind of pagan or religious belief in forces beyond our recognition that only the specially gifted can see or hear. Within the family, the blood of the super sensitive seems to run since Mam, Leonie and the kids can obviously communicate with those in the world between the living and the dead. Narrated like this, this seems to be a bit strange and unrealistic, the author, however, integrates this idea in a remarkable way which makes you accept it as a normal part of life and genuine fact. All in all, a novel which can persuade with the strong characters and a poetic style of writing which affects you deeply.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018
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LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017
SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize
Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood
'A powerfully alive novel haunted by ghosts; a road trip where people can go but they can never leave; a visceral and intimate drama that plays out like a grand epic, Sing, Unburied, Sing is staggering' Marlon James, Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power - and limitations - of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur 'Genius' Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the first female author to win two National Book Awards for Fiction, for Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) - which was also shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction (2018) - and Salvage the Bones (2011). She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time, the author of the memoir Men We Reaped and the author of the novel Where the Line Bleeds. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.