Salvage the Bones

A Novel

Salvage the Bones cover

Salvage the Bones

A Novel

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Winner of the National Book Award
An Atlantic Great American Novel of the Last 100 Years

"A taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written . . . Jesmyn Ward makes beautiful music, plays deftly with her reader's expectations." -Parul Sehgal, New York Times

The National Book Award-winning novel from the author of Let Us Descend and Men We Reaped-a gritty but tender story of family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family--motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce--pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.

Product details

Published Apr 24 2012
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 288
ISBN 9781608196265
Imprint Bloomsbury USA
Dimensions 8 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University o…

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