Sing Unburied Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
This novel journeys through the parts of the south that feel totally alien from my barely-southern upbringing. It is a journey through Mississippi's past and present, examining race, incarceration, coming of age, addiction, and inequality. It is haunting and brought me to tears.
Growing up out here in the country taught me things. Taught me that after the first fat flush of life, time eats away at things: it rusts machinery, it matures animals to become hairless and featherless, and it withers plants.
Hard truths put plainly. Poetically. Passages like this make me look forward to her other books:
I like the way the highway cuts through the forests, curves over hills heading north, sure and rolling. I like the trees reaching out on both sides, the pines thicker and taller up here, spared the stormy beating the ones on the coast get that keeps them spindly and delicate. But that doesn’t stop people from cutting them down to protect their houses during storms or to pad their wallets. So much could be happening in those trees.