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Salvage the Bones
This topic is about Salvage the Bones
May 2018: Family Drama > Salvage the Bones/Ward - 4 stars

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Anita Pomerantz | 7035 comments For me, this book was ALL about the prose itself. The writing has a lyrical, poetic quality that I really both enjoyed and admired. Unfortunately, the plotting wasn't terribly exciting, and that doesn't bother me much if the characterization is really well done. Here, I thought it was good, but a little something is missing. I just didn't feel the characters pain and emotions nearly as much as I thought I should. I can describe the characters and their turmoil, and they are definitely multi dimensional, but somehow it just didn't draw me in emotionally for reasons I'm unable to pinpoint.

The story is of a family, a girl, Esch and three brothers, who have lost their mother during the childbirth of the youngest son. The father is an alcoholic, and the children are pretty much fending for themselves in rural Louisiana. Each chapter of the book is a day leading up to and during hurricane Katrina. Esch narrates the story, and we have a sense of how the hopes and dreams of the rural poor are limited by circumstances and how pragmatic concerns loom large in daily life. In this way, the book was very insightful.

Well worth reading for the gorgeous writing and a peek into the life of the rural poor, but definitely a sad story, but somehow sad in an arms length kind of way.


For those considering reading this for the tag, there's absolutely no doubt that it fits family drama. It is all about a black, rural family coping with poverty and a looming storm . . .

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Lovely review. Well said on the high points and insightful in identifying the "arm's length" aspect. It's hard to feel hopeful about Esch's situation. Her ability to forge family bonds with her grandfather and the way her father and brother began to pitch in during the wild storm were big lifts for me.

message 3: by Booknblues (last edited May 07, 2018 05:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Booknblues | 7142 comments I loved this book. Her writing is beautiful and I want to read more of it.

I read Mudbound shortly after this and I know everyone loved it, but I felt it did not have the merit that Salvage the Bones did.

They did make a good pair of books to read together.

After reading this, I felt compelled to read Sing, Unburied, Sing and I have Men We REaped on my TBR.

I know what you mean by the arms length as I felt that way reading quite a few books...but not this one that I recall.

Anita Pomerantz | 7035 comments Thank you, Michael . . .it really was a book I enjoyed reading, but have to agree that Esch's situation seems pretty untenable. The reader is rooting for her though, so I feel the author did a good job at making her a sympathetic character.

Anita Pomerantz | 7035 comments Booknblues wrote: "I loved this book. Her writing is beautiful and I want to read more of it.

I read Mudbound shortly after this and I know everyone loved it, but I felt it did not have the merit that Salvage the B..."

The writing was really breathtaking. I look forward to reading Sing UnBuried Sing as well, despite the fact it does have some magical realism (hmmm.).

Glad you felt more connected to this book than I did. I honestly don't know why I felt that distance . . .it seemed strange because intellectually, I felt the characters were well rounded and sympathetic. But some books just make you feel more deeply than others, and this one, for all the tragedy in it, didn't. Sometimes I think it is what you've read before that colors ones opinions. The Collector did an outstanding job of drawing the readers in so tightly to the characters feelings and emotions . . .maybe any book would fall a little short by comparison.

But the prose on this one . . .I really really loved it.

Tracy (tstan) | 1241 comments Hurray! I’m glad you like her writing. She can write, and she’s only going to get better!

Susie I really think you’ll be ok with the magical realism in Sing Unburied Sing. Fingers crossed!

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