Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501126062
1501126067
Branch Call Number: WARD
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 23 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Set in the Mississippi delta, the author's home, where the children of a black mother and white father are raised by their grandparents—until their father is released from prison.

With her second novel, Jesmyn Ward became the first woman to gain the honor of winning a notable award twice.

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ArapahoeAnnaL Mar 17, 2018

A moving story, beautifully written. One cannot ignore or discount the legacy of slavery and our history of terrible discrimination after reading this. Love, nurturing, and dysfunction within a multi-generational family give this book its heart.

“Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds.” - Jesmyn Ward, "Sing, Unburied, Sing"

Comment
ArapahoeLesley Feb 08, 2018

This book is a tough one. Short but full of meaning and feeling. Ward wrote so wonderfully that I could almost see, smell and hear what was written. Some of it was so visceral I felt angry and a bit ill. I wouldn't want to fall into this book for sure but it is definitely amazing.


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w
westwoodkaren
Jun 19, 2019

When Sarah Mulligan saw me reading this on the train she described it as "punishing." I can't disagree. A beautiful, searing, disturbing read.

f
firefly5
Apr 12, 2019

The boy helps his granddad kill a goat, very bloody and graphic. Then the grandad carries the liver to the house to cook for his wife. Oh my goodness, almost made me gag. There are better books to read.

WPLBookClub Feb 28, 2019

The Whistler Public Library & Armchair Books Community Book Club discussed Sing, Unburied, Sing as our Black History Month pick. We had a great chat about this book - opinions varied widely, but everyone had thoughts and questions to share, regardless of whether they "enjoyed" the story.

Some highlights of our discussion (no spoilers!):
- The supernatural elements of the story - the passing along of certain powers/abilities from generation to generation; the role played by ghosts, and whether or not they improved or detracted from the story
- Leonie's parenting skills, or lack thereof - what circumstances in her life lead her to be so negligent?
- Misty's role as Leonie's white friend, and the ways her privilege makes life easier for her

j
jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2017

c
ckalland
Dec 24, 2018

Outstanding. A bit mysterious.

d
dtbutler
Nov 12, 2018

This book shook me from start to finish. Thankful for writers like Jesmyn Ward giving a voice to the voiceless.

p
peacebenow
Nov 04, 2018

Definitely one of the most moving, powerful books I've read this year. Ward is able to relate the lives, interactions, struggles of past and present of this Mississippi family in a woven fashion that illuminates their complexities bit by bit. Injustice, hate, prejudice, love, spirit, life and death all shape these characters and how they deal with each other. These factors enable some to grow and others not. Jojo, Kayla, Pop and Richie will stay in my thoughts for some time to come.

j
Jenkskitten
Oct 06, 2018

I was not too crazy over the way the book was written, the story line was good, the delivery not perfect. Strange title for the story.

AnnabelleLee27 Sep 25, 2018

A novel about a present day African-American family in rural Mississippi where the past is always an important influencing presence - in this case portrayed as ghosts who visit, warn, plead with, and follow the living. The characters are complex and complicated and it is an emotional read which is in turn disturbing and beautiful, promising and bleak, harsh and loving.

s
sandyc_9
Jun 12, 2018

Echoes of Beloved.

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ranvapa
Mar 17, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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abbi_g
Dec 27, 2018

He wasn't nothing but a boy, Jojo. They kill animals better than that.

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