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Salvage the Bones (2011)

por Jesmyn Ward

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Séries: Bois Sauvage (1)

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2,8741624,909 (3.94)367
Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 161 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Violence of dogfighting is spotlighted in this story. Realistic and lushly detailed prose from a teenage girl with several brothers, no mother and a father still mourning the loss of his wife. Great sadness, little joy after their lives are destroyed in the storm.
  MimiJac | Mar 14, 2024 |
This is a geitty but tender story of poverty and family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show much concern for much else. Each and her theee brothers are stocking food, it there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother SkeetH is sneaking scraps for his prized oitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. This is a big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty. ( )
  creighley | Jan 29, 2024 |
A great book, but not one I'm not likely to read again soon. "Salvage the Bones" is, from its very beginning, an almost unbearably intense reading experience. Forget the hurricane, which finally makes its appearance in the book's final third. From the very moment we meet Esch, her life is defined by generational poverty, geographic and isolation, bad luck and, thankfully, intense love for attachment to her family. "Too much, too soon" is a cliché, but I've seldom seen it expressed in prose better -- or more poignantly -- than Ward expresses it here. In her mid-teens, we see Esch balance the roles of sister, substitute mother, provider and student. I suppose it isn't particularly surprising, then, that things fall apart by the end of the novel, though the weather event that will not be named here makes things more dramatic than they otherwise might have been.

Ward's writing fits this material almost too well, treading the line between exhilarating and exhausting. It'd be difficult to argue that Esch's teenage experience is typical, at least by the standards of widely read American literature. But the author's style deftly recalls a time in which even the most insignificant events can have enormous, both emotional and otherwise. Esch's life -- and the life of all her family -- is constantly teetering on the edge, and the book's prose, which is suffused with deep feeling, sensuality, desire, fear, and memory, reflects that well. Not that this makes "Salvage the Bones" an easy read. From a certain, perhaps shallow perspective, Esch's life seems so exhausting that it's difficult for even the reader to get through its particulars. The world that "Salvage the Bones" describes often gives the impression of being disordered and borderless: everything -- nature and late capitalism, brutality and affection, hard-fought life and luckless death -- comes together in ways that are sometimes surprising and other times sadly fated. The book itself seems set in a place between past and present that's difficult to pin down: its characters live in a verdant, swampy forest that seems as old as time itself, but car speakers are discussed and Outkast earns a mention. There's sex, but not a lot of love. There are opportunities to make money and dreams of glory about, but nothing set and stone, and lots of it heartbreakingly contingent. This isn't a book to read casually. It demands your attention and fairly overwhelms your senses. I had to force myself to get through it, and I wouldn't be surprised if lots of readers simply don't make it to the last page.

Still, there were some things about "Salvage the Bones" that pleasantly surprised me. Refreshingly, Ward does not seem to be interested in having a conversation with William Faulkner, as Toni Morrison often did. This novel's main preoccupation is often the natural word, something else that Katrina also had a hand in damaging. Esch is at home in the forest, and is comfortable around many of its animal and vegetable inhabitants, and not in the way that MFA-earning poets are. There were times I felt that I was back in "As I Lay Dying" getting stuck in the Mississippi mud on yet another unbearably hot day, but this feeling proved to be fleeting. I loved Ward's descriptions of Big Henry, one of the few teenage characters here -- besides Esch -- who seems older and calmer than his years. And the family's love for Junior, their youngest son, and the care they take of him, is genuinely touching.

Ward also introduces some material from some unexpected sources: While Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" and the story of Medea is frequently mentioned, I couldn't help hearing Edenic overtones throughout "Salvage the Bones" as well. That Hamilton's retelling of Medea's experience might strike some readers as both improbable and a touch precious. There don't seem to be any other books in Esch's house. But I think that the sheer emotional force that "Salvage the Bones" imparts -- and its essentially tragic structure -- more than justifies it. But, in a sense, that represents one of this novel's problems, too. You could -- and many will -- read "Salvage the Bones" as a tragedy in the truest cosmic sense. You can't escape the notion that Esch and her relations are doomed from the very first page, and this doesn't make for a joyful reading experience. Many will call it too dark, too sad, and just too much, and they might not be wrong. It doesn't help, I suppose, that dogfighting is one of this book's major plot points. I'm hardly a dog person under the best of conditions, but I found having to read about the birth, training, and fighting of truly fierce pitbulls to be almost more than I could take. Like many other elements in "Salvage the Bones", they are fierce, bloody, undeniably strong, and, however improbably, the object of one of this novel's characters boundless affections. Uf, it's too much. It's antipodean summertime right now, and I'm off to read something a little lighter. I'll get to "Sing, Unburied, Sing" eventually. Whatever problems I may have had with it, "Salvage the Bones" is so good that Ward's work can't just be written off as Southern misery porn. She's a real-deal writer. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Jan 21, 2024 |
Ooof! This is a tough read, not for the faint-hearted. A very raw, close-to-the-bone story of 14 yr old Esch and her family in coastal Mississippi right before and during Katrina. Motherhood, family, poverty and love (all kinds) ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Hard to read about dog fights, and underage sex, but probably very realistic ( )
  ChrisGreenDog | Nov 21, 2023 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (3 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ward, Jesmynautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Becker, UlrikeÜbersetzerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Boothe, CheriseNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ratchford, PattiArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

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