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Singt, ihr Lebenden und ihr Toten, singt by…

Singt, ihr Lebenden und ihr Toten, singt (edition 2018)

by Jesmyn Ward (Author)

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1,7741236,019 (4.06)267
Title:Singt, ihr Lebenden und ihr Toten, singt
Authors:Jesmyn Ward (Author)
Info:Verlag Antje Kunstmann (2018), 300 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

Work details

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

  1. 21
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Mournful spirits haunt both shattering works of African American magical realism that examine the effects of slavery (Beloved) and racism (Unburied) on women and children. Lyrical language and stylistically complex storytelling provide bulwarks from which to glimpse unbearable suffering in each.… (more)
  2. 00
    The Power by Naomi Alderman (sturlington)
  3. 00
    Of Love and Dust by Ernest J. Gaines (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These searing novels feature complex, tragic, and flawed characters in the deep South and are set in part in punitive work camps where choices are limited, the threat of violence ubiquitous, and the corridors of fate narrow and unyielding.… (more)
  4. 00
    American War: A novel by Omar El Akkad (sturlington)

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» See also 267 mentions

English (121)  Spanish (2)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Jojo is a young boy who is essentially raising his younger sister, Michaela/Kayla, with the help of his grandfather Pop. His Mam (grandmother) has been stricken with cancer. His mother, Leonie, is so encompassed with her passion for Michael (the children's father). Michael is in Parchman Center (prison). This family suffered the loss of Given, Leonie's brother, at a young age.
Leonie doesn't really have the means to be a mother, her own needs will always come first. Michael and drugs are her priorities.
There are ghosts in this story who are looking for a way to leave this earth. Song seems the best way to get them where they should be.

This novel is so beautifully worded. The language draws you completely in. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Jun 1, 2019 |
Jojo lives with his grandparents, Pop (River) and Mam (Saltwater woman) on a small family farm in Mississippi. His mother, Leonie, a meth addict, sometimes lives there too. Jojo's toddler sister, Kayla, lives there as well. Their father, Michael, is in Parchmen, the state penitentiary. Pop does his best to raise Jojo right and teach him the ways of farming and being a man.Pop likes to tell Jojo the story of a young boy named Richie, who he knew during his own stint in Parchmen. Mam was once the area midwife and is an herbalist. Mam is dying from her third round with cancer. Jojo is Kayla's primary care giver. Leonie never had any maternal instincts and is more likely to beat her children than nurture them. Jojo is wary of his mother, thinking "Leonie kill things".
The book starts as the family celebrates Jojo's 13th birthday. Michael calls to tell the family he is being released from prison. Leonie decides that she will take the children with her- and her work friend, Misty- to get Michael when he is released. This road trip does not go well. On the way home they carry an extra passenger, known only to Jojo and Kayla - the ghost of Richie, who had been stuck at Parchmen, waiting to go home, and wanting to see River, the only father figure in his life. Once they reach home things go from bad to worse as all the story lines intertwine and some reach their conclusion.
There are many elements of magical realism in this story. Mam, Jojo, Leonie and Kayla all have some ability to read people, hear the thoughts of people and animals, and see and/or talk to the dead. The story is narrated in turns by Jojo, Leonie and Richie.
This is a story of family ties, ingrained racism, injustice, longing and wonder. It is sad and occasionally frightening. The prose is often beautiful. It's not an easy story to read but I'm glad to have read it and will definitely attempt to get others to read it as well. Recommended. ( )
  VioletBramble | May 27, 2019 |
Cant' say I didn't like it but didn't love it either. There's a mix of Toni Morrison here along with a generational saga with ghosts, class & color in Mississippi. A well written, important story, but not an easy read. ( )
  EllenH | May 20, 2019 |
Yes, the writing is high quality and is an evocative tale of a family gifted with second sight.

It is also torturously depressing to read,
with a book-long agonizing death from cancer,
with hideous murders recounted by the undead and unburied,
with endless, unredemptive drug addition and domestic abuse,
with racist and homosexual prison horror upon horror,
contrived POV and conversations with the still unburied,
with a hideous graphic goat slaughter...

...it simply goes on for too long with no hope for change and the tiresome image of Kayla wrapped around JoJo or puking all over him and the car.

It feels like the author wants readers to suffer as much as sensitive young Jojo does with his selfish, pathetic mother and dim father. ( )
2 vote m.belljackson | Apr 28, 2019 |
A wrenchingly difficult read, brilliant but brutal. Told in three voices, two living and one dead, the narrative explores the lives of three living generations of a fractured family in rural Mississippi. Leonie, the middle generation, is a black woman whose white husband is currently serving time at Parchman. She is often strung out on drugs, unable to be any kind of mother, while her 14-year-old son JoJo tends to his little sister Kayla. JoJo’s is the first voice we hear-- he is the heart and soul of this novel. We soon learn that he hears and sees things that others do not, a genetic gift or curse. It is apparent that Leonie’s parents, Pop and Mam, have been JoJo’s main caregivers for some time when the story begins. Now Mam is dying, Leonie is obsessed with the imminent release of her husband Michael from the prison farm, and JoJo is shouldering more and more responsibility. In addition, he is communicating with the shade of a dead boy his grandfather knew long ago during his own stretch at Parchman. Pop has told parts of Richie’s story to JoJo over and over...but he has never finished it. Richie is in limbo because he doesn’t know his own ending, and he begs JoJo to get Pop to fill in the final details.

Nothing about the story generates hope that things will ever be better. The realism is hard to face, and I needed breaks to get through it. The grinding poverty, a mother's disregard for her children's welfare, the inhumane treatment of prisoners (both past and present), beleaguered ghosts and the protracted suffering of an old woman. When I push through that kind of difficult reading, I hope for some illumination of why people behave that way, what makes it possible for victims and survivors to endure such a life...maybe even a clue as to how changes in attitude and behavior might come about. I got very little of that from this book, and yet I am better for having read it, somehow. No one gets a pass from the author here...not her characters and not her readers, but it is impossible to miss the message that there IS love in this family. JoJo would endure almost anything to comfort and protect Kayla; Pop is attentive to his wife and a decent father figure for JoJo; Leonie rouses herself to fulfill her mother’s last wish for help in contacting the voodoo gods she believes will open the door to the next world for her; Michael defies his own uncompromising family in allegiance to Leonie and his children. This is not an uplifting tale of overcoming obstacles; rather it is an unsparing look at how insurmountable the obstacles can be. ( )
6 vote laytonwoman3rd | Apr 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Ward’s prose counterpoints the inhumanity. She’s always reaching for a simile, something to pin the moment and find redemption in it..Jojo, Leona and Richie tell the story in turn. The fecund delta draws out the baroque. You’re never far from growth. You’re never far from decay. Ward brings story to the edge of allegory and keeps it there without tipping over...Ward has to deal with the festering cache of Black American history, to look at historic and present hurt, and to look past it at the same time. She does it brilliantly... Ward’s writing is laced with compassion. The wonder is that she can find room for it.
Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book award for fiction in the US. In many ways, though, it’s not as strong as Ward’s previous work, including her 2011 novel Salvage the Bones and her 2013 memoir Men We Reaped. Its dense lyricism is often heavy handed. In drawing on William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying – both in its multiple first-person narratives and its story of a poor rural family that embarks on a wagon trek to Mississippi – it comes across as self-consciously literary...Jojo, fierce and tender, is the endearing heart of the novel; other characters, including Leonie, are fitfully ventriloquised and remain rather distant. The ramshackle journey at its spine and Ward’s rendering of the region’s dark geologies and histories are more potent than her awkward stage-managing of spirits and apparitions in the second half. Still, for all its occasional mis- and oversteps, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a brooding, pained meditation on the proposition, spelled out by Colson Whitehead in The Underground Railroad, that “America is a ghost in the darkness

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ward, Jesmynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chalk, Chrissecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miceli, JayaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sundström, JoakimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wesley, Rutinasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Who are we looking for, who are we looking for?
It's Equiano we're looking for.
Has he gone to the stream? Let him come back.
Has he gone to the farm? Let him return.
It's Equiano we're looking for.

----Kwa chant about the disappearance of Equiano an African boy
The memory is a living thing---it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives---the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.

---from One Writer's Beginnings,
by Eudora Welty
The Gulf shines dull as lead. The coast of Texas
glints like a metal rim. I have no home
as long as summer bubbling to its head

boils for that day when in the Lord God's name
the coals of fire are heaped upon the head
of all whose gospel is the whip and flame,

age after age, the uninstructing dead.

--from "The Gulf," by Derek Walcott
For my mother, Norine Elizabeth Dedeaux, who loved me before I took my first breath. Every second of my life, she shows me so.
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I like to think I know what death is.
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Book description
Haiku summary
JoJo is tender,
Straight-backed as murdering Pop;
Kayla, too, sees ghosts.

No descriptions found.

"Jojo and his toddler sister Kayla live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother Leonie on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm--the Mississippi State Penitentiary--on a journey rife with danger and promise"--… (more)

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