Men We Reaped Reviews
"Jesmyn Ward's memoir profiles five young African American men who have been lost in a spate of deaths in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi. While the chronicles are important, and I really valued them, the book is unfortunately a really slow read. It doesn't hold the reader's attention long enough. Men We Reaped is a necessary book but sadly not an engaging one." Elizabeth Whitmore Funk
"Starred Review. A modern rejoinder to Black Like Me, Beloved and other stories of struggle and redemption - beautifully written, if sometimes too sad to bear." - Kirkus
"Ward has a soft touch, making these stories heartbreakingly real through vivid portrayal and dialogue." - Publishers Weekly
"As [Ward] reflects on her losses, telling the stories of her community, she gives us an intimate understanding of deep-rooted social issues. - Library Journal
"This is beautifully written homage, with a pathos and understanding that come from being a part of the culture described." - Booklist
"Jesmyn Ward left her Gulf Coast home for education and experience, but it called her back. It called on her in most painful ways, to mourn. In Men We Reaped, Jesmyn unburies her dead, that they may live again. And through this emotional excavation, she forces us to see the problems of place and race that led these men to their early graves. Full of beauty, love, and dignity, Men We Reaped is a haunting and essential read." Natasha Trethewey, US Poet Laureate, author of Thrall and Native Guard, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"Jesmyn Ward is simply sui generis. I am reminded of Miles Davis' quote: 'Don't play what's there, play what's not there,' after reading her memoir, Men We Reaped. This is one mighty virtuosic, bluesy hymn. Beautiful." Oscar Hijuelos, author of Thoughts without Cigarettes
"Jesmyn Ward is an alchemist. She transmutes pain and loss into gold. Men We Reaped illustrates hardships but thankfully, vitally, it's just as clear about the humor, the intelligence, the tenderness, the brilliance of the folks in DeLisle, Mississippi. A community that's usually wiped off the literary map can't be erased when it's in a book this good." - Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
"Men We Reaped is a fiercely felt meditation on the value of life that at once reminds us of its infinite worth and indicts us - as a society - for our selective, casual complicity in devaluing it. Ward's account of these losses is founded in a compelling emotional honesty, and graced with moments of stark poetry." - Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl
"Jesmyn Ward's memoir is a miracle. In it, she writes with such clarity and beauty that her discoveries and revelations could very well change the way her readers understand the world. She also makes the unbearable nearly bearable with her poetic prose and her life-affirming passion. This is fierce, brave exploration, but it is also - timeless, universal, and unrelentingly inspired." - Laura Kasischke, author of The Raising
"Jesmyn Ward returns to the world of her first two books, but here in the mode of non-fiction. A clear-eyed witness to the harrowing stories of 'men we reaped,' she quickens the dead and brings them, vividly alive again. An eloquent, grief-steeped account." - Nicholas Delbanco, author of Lastingness: The Art of Old Age
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