Friday, December 14, 2012

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Warn

A pretty amazing book.  Set 10 days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the novel is narrated by a teenage girl living with her impoverished family (three brothers and father) in low-lying predominantly black and poor Bois Sauvage, Mississippit.  Dramatically centered around her older brother Skeetah's pit bull China giving birth and the childrens' struggles to keep the puppies alive, the narrative soon deepens as fifteen year old  Esch realizes she is pregnant.  She is also obsessed with Greek mythology and reads and dwells upon the story of Medea and Jason, as the family struggles to prepare for the storm, her father is grievously injured, her youngest brother Junior grieves for their dead mother, and her oldest brother Randall attempts to free the family from some of their poverty in his high school basketball career.

Lots going on in this dense, quick book.  The heroine, Esch, is unique and forceful in her narration.  Her brothers are tough and yet enduringly kind to her and to each other.

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