Sing, Unburied, Sing — Jesmyn Ward

The title only comes clear in the last few para­graphs of the book. The jour­ney to the singing of the unburied is painful and ten­der all at once. A sto­ry of three gen­er­a­tions of bay­ou peo­ple liv­ing in an enchant­ed, haunt­ed world. Told from the points of view of thir­teen year old Jojo, his moth­er Leonie, and the ghost of a boy of about Jojo’s age, Richie, who was in Parchman Farm prison with Jojo’s grand­fa­ther many years ago. Each has their own expe­ri­ence of love, depen­den­cy and the loy­al­ty that may or may not go with love.
The largest part of the book con­cerns an ill-advised road trip that Leonie and her chil­dren take to pick up their father new­ly released from prison. Things fall apart in so many ways and Jojo learns the hard les­son that he can’t pick them all up and put them back togeth­er. For the first part of the book you want to hate Leonie for the things that she does. But in the end you can’t hate her. You can only pity her and the under­stand why she does the things that she does. A trick pulled off by Jessamyn Ward that I would not have thought possible.

* the dead car­ry their own bur­dens and some­times they try to lay them on the living *