Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Stunning, lyrical, haunting. Characters that will tangle into your thoughts and mingle with your mind for days. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a searingly honest and devastating road novel, that centres around an African American family living in rural Mississippi. This story is guaranteed to make your heart speed way over the limit, and run a few redlights too while you're at it, because honestly I could not bring myself to pull the brakes and put this book down.

In this powerful tale of family, love, poverty, grief, and race, Wards chilling writing trembles with pain for the characters we wish to save and pull right off the pages straight into our arms. Jojo, a thirteen year old, learning what it means to be a man from his grandfather, and parenting his three year old sister Kayla, because if not him then who? Surely not his mother Leonie, absent and selfish and unable to put her children above her own needs. Not his father Michael, locked up in prison, and whose family are disgusted by his black girlfriend and biracial kids. The only two people Jojo can fully rely on his being his loving grandparents, Mam and Pop, everyone else, ghosts to him, sometimes there, sometimes not, always haunting.

When Leonie packs the two kids and a friend into the car, and sets off on a journey to retrieve the one thing that hasn't entirely slipped out from her hands; Michael, Jojo begins to understand the racism and hatred of the south, and comes to terms with everything his mother is, isn't and never  will be.

Profound, poetic, and an important reminder that the shadows and skeletons of slavery are still very much alive and present in twenty-first-century America.

Reviewed by Vindhya Kathuria

Happy reading! 

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Hannah Gough