Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. She received her M.F.A from the University of Michigan and has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. She is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama.
We Reaped: A Memoir
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Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
Jesmyn Ward grew up in poverty with a family struggling to stay together and
survive in the rural South. All around her were black men facing dangers and
social ills that are usually only talked about in the context of inner
cities. MEN WE REAPED: A Memoir lays bare all the trials, mourning, and
unmatched spirit of her world in a way that only she can. She breaks your
heart with words that sing and cry from the page.
In four years Ward lost five men from her hometown area, including her brother. They died from drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty. Dealing with these losses one after another made Jesmyn question the world around her. And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the stunning truth: her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they came from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships.
Ward writes powerfully about the pressure this brings on the men who can do no right and the women who are left to keep the family structure intact in a society where men are often absent. A portrait of the rural South and the sad casualties that have gone unheard about for too long, MEN WE REAPED will leave a lasting impression much like Brother, I’m Dying, This Boy’s Life, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Salvage the Bones: A Novel
Jesmyn Ward's, Salvage the Bones, wins the 2011 National Book Award for fiction
A stunning new voice from the Gulf Coast delivers a gritty but tender
novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.
A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.
As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family-motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce-pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
the ebook from Amazon for $3.99
Joshua and Christophe are twins, raised by a blind grandmother and a large extended family in a rural town on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. They've just finished high school and need to find jobs, but in a failing post-Katrina economy, it's not easy. Joshua gets work on the docks, but Christophe's not so lucky. Desperate to alleviate the family's poverty, he starts to sell drugs. He can hide it from his grandmother but not his twin, and the two grow increasingly estranged. Christophe's downward spiral is accelerated first by crack, then by the reappearance of the twins' parents: Cille, who abandoned them, and Sandman, a creepy, predatory addict. Sandman taunts Christophe, eventually provoking a shocking confrontation that will ultimately damn or save both twins. Ward inhabits these characters, and this world ' black Creole, poor, and drug-riddled, yet shored by family and community' to a rare degree, without a trace of irony or distance.