Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones

A Novel

Book - 2011
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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.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608195220
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ward Jesmyn 08/2011
Characteristics: 261 p. ;,22 cm.


From Library Staff

Contemporary Fiction

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.

JCLEmilyD May 11, 2017

This story sticks with you. It's about poverty, teenagers, family, dogs, love, and hurricanes. Written as a family works to prepare for the coming hurricane Katrina. Along with poverty and absent parents the children deal with teenage pregnancy and a dying litter of puppies. The impending tragedy... Read More »

JCLHelenH Jan 22, 2014

This was a very difficult book to read. There’s poverty, there’s neglect, there’s dog fighting, and there’s impending tragedy. Then there are the victims fighting against poverty the only way they know how, there are children caring for one another in the absence of caring adults, there’s the bea... Read More »

JCLMELODYK Mar 15, 2013

I stumbled through several chunks of Ms. Ward's writing but what kept me engaged were the characters. At first I was just concerned with Esch, the 14 year old female character, dirt poor and pregnant but then China, the family's pit bull became my main concern. If you are a dog lover as I am, thi... Read More »

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May 08, 2020

I lived on the Mississippi coast shortly after hurricane Katrina. I thought this book would provide some of the struggles the residents encountered but also the resilience of the people and the beauty of the area. The author seems to write well but the subject is too close to the reality of life in Mississippi, IMO. Anyone who has lived in the most disadvantaged state in the USA knows first hand about poverty, ignorance, the adoration of dog fighting, and other depressing facts. If you like that sort of reality in what you read then it might be a good story, but not for me. I stopped reading after about 20 pages.

Apr 06, 2020

Ward’s writing is absolutely gorgeous; vivid and precise imagery fills up every page, and every character was both fully realized and mysterious in their own way. Esch (the protagonist and narrator) and her brothers and friends are all unique and interesting and I deeply cared about them all immensely and immediately.

Mar 21, 2020

National Book Award winner for fiction. Story of a black family living in Mississippi's coastal back country over a period of weeks as hurricane Katrina arrives. Told in the voice of a pregnant teenager. Disappointing story because the majority of the book is about a boy and his fighting pit bull.

Jan 10, 2020

2011 National Book Award Winner

Jan 03, 2020

Incredible book. Very eye-opening.

Nov 06, 2019

Pit bulls fighting and slobber kissing..... unwed teen pregnancy.......alcoholism......poverty.......abuse......death.......Spam and cracker diet......mosquitoes.......houses collapsing......front yard junk to top it all off, redemption in the form of a horrific hurricane. Guess that’s what they liked in 2011—national book award. I think it will take me about 48 hours to forget this tale.

Oct 06, 2019

Don't read this book if you get depressed easily. It seems every turn they make ends up in hopeless disaster. The dog fighting is horrible!

OPL_AnnaW Sep 05, 2019

I love most things Jesmyn Ward writes, and this is no exception. The family at the heart of this book lives in rural Mississippi, and the threat of Hurricane Katrina is looming. The experiences of Esch, the only female in the family, are described in beautiful, relatable ways. I devoured this book, and wanted to know what would become of these vivid characters in their post-hurricane lives.

Dec 01, 2018

Jesmyn Ward is a stand out Author! Brilliant writing style, I felt like I was near this family and had to live through the hurricane to reach the end of the book. Her complex characters live in poverty. They range from brilliant, caring then at times animal like. Esch often used Greek mythology to relate to her, family, friends and her surrounding. This family could be labeled dysfunctional. Esch had no role models for growing up other than men and boys. In the end strong family/friend bonds shine through. Maybe it is enough....

Aug 22, 2018

Ward's comment about her frustrations with white normative literature holding claim to the "classics" like Greek Mythology is so fascinating and accurate. Those timeless tales belong to humanity and are race-neutral just as Esch's fascination with Medea's is, as it courses through the book.
This book is similarly universal: it's simply about the bonds of family in the wake of their mother's death and in the face of the impending Hurricane Katrina.
This is an absolute must-read. Ms. Ward, what a treasure!

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Dec 27, 2018

Where my brothers go, I follow.


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