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Jojo is 13 years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road story into rural 21st century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Zowe on 02-02-18
Intensifying Captivating and poetic. so much depth and feeling. It allows you to see every scene.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By B_R on 05-21-18
One of the best books I've read in ages
Sing Unburied Sing is gripping from the outset. Thirteen year old Jojo is a compelling character and he pulls the reader in immediately. It would be impossible to not be heavily invested in his story, in his love for his grandparents and baby sister, in his understanding of the world as a boy growing into a young man and in his fear of the journey they head out on in order to collect his father from prison. While the book may be the story of a broken family, Jojo is the crux, and developed so incredibly well by Ward.
The spirits that follow Jojo about, hoping for closure, add to the complexity of Jojo's character but also allow the author to offer thoughts on the state of race relations in the US currently, referring to its history and potential for the future. There are several layers of meaning in every beautiful sentence. It's the kind of book you want to read over and over to revel in the sentence structure.
The narration was excellent. In particular I loved Leonie's weak and shrunken portrayal. The voice of all characters added to the significance and intention of the story.
By Claire on 03-21-18
Well told story, wrapped in history
Where does Sing, Unburied, Sing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
One of the best audiobook I have listened to, great performance and gripping story.
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed this book. So well written, with strong complex characters. The supernatural element helps to blend the horrific facts of history into the story. I'm so glad it was told from the perspective of a few characters, I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much or liked some of the harder characters such as Leonie if it was all from JoJo's point of view.
There were points were I wanted to put this book down because the impending sense of grief was overwhelming, but I simply couldn't. The story is so gripping you have to keep reading.