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Jesmyn Ward

Author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

10+ Works 9,586 Members 482 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

Jesmyn Ward was born in DeLisle, Mississippi in 1977. She became a writer after the death of her brother by a drunk driver. She received a MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. Her books include the novel Where the Line Bleeds, the memoir Men We Reaped, and the nonfiction work show more The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race. Salvage the Bones won the National Book Award in Fiction in 2011 and an Alex Award in 2012. Sing, Unburied, Sing won the National Book Award in Fiction in 2017. She taught at University of New Orleans, the University of South Alabama, and Tulane University. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Jesmyn Ward (Author)


Works by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) 3,868 copies
Salvage the Bones (2011) 2,838 copies
Men We Reaped (2013) 1,058 copies
Let Us Descend (2023) 452 copies
Where the Line Bleeds (2008) 294 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2021 (2021) — Editor — 124 copies
Navigate Your Stars (2020) 97 copies
Mother Swamp (2022) 16 copies
Cattle Haul 2 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge



Annis is a slave on a plantation in Virginia. Her father is the plantation owner. When she rebuffs his advances she is sold further south. The journey to New Orleans is long and nearly unbearable. The scenes where the slaves are forced to cross rivers are awful. Upon reaching New Orleans, Annis is purchased by a woman who runs a sugar plantation. She is starved and worked mercilessly. She has a spirit, her grandmother Aza who watches over her. This is gut-wrenching, but probably a more true portrayal of slavery than what we usually are fed.… (more)
mojomomma | 24 other reviews | Feb 20, 2024 |
Very character-driven magical realism historical fiction story with lyrical prose but very little plot.
bookwyrmm | 24 other reviews | Feb 18, 2024 |
[3.25] How I wanted this widely-acclaimed book that reimagines Dante’s “Inferno” to land on my all-to-short list of 5-star reads. It seemed to have all the ingredients. A socially and historically significant theme that creatively explores the tragedy of slavery through the eyes of a girl. A heartbreaking storyline that shines a spotlight on the resiliency of the human spirit. A talented author known for her lyrical prose. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work for me — and I’m struggling to understand why it didn’t. I think my biggest issue involved the way the story unfolded in a stream of consciousness style fashion. It was a challenge for me to navigate the narrative path. As for the magical realism – something I typically get into – this aspect of “Let Us Descend” seemed – for a lack of a better word – “contrived.” Nevertheless, the book sheds light on a harrowing era in our nation’s history. The author clearly did meticulous research and used her wordsmithing to craft a myriad of riveting vignettes.… (more)
brianinbuffalo | 24 other reviews | Feb 14, 2024 |
What worked for me were the characterizations of Leonie and Jojo, how she had no understanding or empathy of what is was like to be him and what her impact on him was. How she and Michael thought it was OK to just order him around. It felt like an honest representation of parenthood. They seemed like real people.
What didn't work for me was the magic realism element; I would have liked it if it had been metaphorical but not as the hinge for the climax. Also I thought the Richie storyline with Pa's reveal of what happened to Richie was too contrived. I would have preferred Richie's story to be edited out of the book.
Even though the magic realism element didn't work for me, it did result in some beautiful imagery, especially Richie's vision of the island, but also the descriptions of his post-death experiences, the snake and the crow, his generations haunting Parchman.
Also, final point, I did not like or even understand the last chapter. I would have preferred something that came back to Jojo's coming of age story, instead of just a weird mystery.
… (more)
read.to.live | 191 other reviews | Feb 10, 2024 |



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Wendy S. Walters Contributor
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Clint Smith Contributor
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Jane Pek Contributor
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George Saunders Contributor
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Jaya Miceli Cover artist
Ulrike Becker Übersetzer
Patti Ratchford Cover artist
Kevin R. Free Narrator
Korey Jackson Narrator
Susan Spain Narrator
Michael Early Narrator
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Catherine Ho Narrator
Bahni Turpin Narrator
J. D. Jackson Narrator
Robert Fass Narrator
Lisa Flanagan Narrator
Katy Tang Narrator
Brigid Hughes Introduction


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