Genre: Literary Fiction
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is not an entertaining book. If you’re looking for that, don’t read this. It is a National Book Award winner for fiction though–no small feat. And, it’s creatively written, almost viscerally written in its descriptions of butchering a goat or driving with a sick baby in a hot car. It is ultimately a desolate tale of a drug addled Black mother and her mixed race son, Jo Jo, trying to emotionally survive racism and poverty in the deep South. There are places of subtle lyrical beauty in this story: when Jo Jo looks to the blue sky and feels his spirit lift or when, after his mother Leonie emotionally abuses him, his grandfather, Pop, steps in with strength and stability. The ghosts in this story, the unburied, supply the conscious, authentic voices so desperately needed. They sing to this family, reminding them of their past in order that Leonie, Pop, and Jo Jo might better navigate their future.