Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
Katrina, better or worse?
In Salvage the Bones Esch, as narrator, describes her father, her four brothers, the dog China, and their preparation for the hurricane Katrina. She introduces us to Bois Savage, just about the meanest hovel in Louisiana and the day to day struggle to keep alive. Difficult to read, especially a vividly described dog fight, Jesmyn Ward makes you feel poverty and hopelessness.
Kelly P. (Monterey, TN)
A captivating tale
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting and the language immerse the reader in the life of a poor Mississippi family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. While Hurricane Katrina lurks in the background it is not the focal point of the novel. Instead the plot revolves around the characters and how their own decisions, and the decisions of their loved ones, impacts their lives. The writing style is reminiscent of other Southern authors such as William Gay, Larry Brown and Tom Franklin which is high praise in my opinion.
Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA)
Category 5 storm; category 3 reaction
On one hand, I admired this gritty novel for the voice of its narrator (the pregnant, 14-year-old Eshe), the unusual setting, and the device of the slowly and ominously building plot that so closely mimicked the movement of Katrina in the Gulf. On the other hand, I felt too distanced from the action to say that I LIKED it. The author's shortcoming or mine? Couldn't say. I'm simply disappointed that I couldn't abandon myself more readily to a story with such powerful potential.
Beth T. (Savannah, GA)
Gritty and Beautifully Wrought
This is an amazing book. It's not for the faint of heart or overly sensitive. The subject matter is hard to get through sometimes, but the author's writing is so beautiful and poetic that it somehow softens the hard edges of harsh reality and helps the reader become immersed in the characters and their story. I found myself caring about these people and what happened to them, and wasn't ready to put the book down when I turned the last page. Ms. West's is a unique and powerful voice in Southern fiction and I recommend "Salvage the Bones" as a very good read.
Salvage the bones
I looked forward to reading this book. I felt the topic was one that I would enjoy,but I was very disappointed. The writing was disjointed and the story lagged. None of the characters drew me to them and if they had I might have had a different reaction to the book. I am sure I was also unable to identify the dog fighting emphasis in the story.
Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)
Jesmyn Ward has a wonderful way of using words to describe situations. You can feel the action of the dog fights and, again, during the scary moments of Hurricane Katrina. This book shows that when the chips are down, a dysfunctional family comes together to help each other during a horrific storm -- Hurricane Katrina.
Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)
Lyric and heartbreaking
What an incredible book! Salvage the Bones is a moving portrayal of a family, made up mostly of children, trying to do their best amidst rural poverty. The social and natural landscape where these characters live is unforgiving and harsh, but Jasmyn Ward shows how it is also a place where kindness and love play a particularly important role. It would be an excellent discussion book as it raises so many important social issues in an enlightening and nonjudgmental way.