Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

"I gulp against the feeling I want to throw up all the food that I ever ate"

 While praise has been heaped upon this novel - and it is indeed an interesting piece of work - it is hard going. I almost gave up on it for a while. I was in peak panic about trying to pack for two different seasons in two weeks - I mean snow and Mexican sunshine - and was not quite prepared for how torturous this would be. The novel - not the packing, just so we are clear.

Told by a number of narrators within a rather troubled family which include Jojo, whose mother is black and whose father is white and in prison); Leonie, his mother who isn't coping and resorts to drugs on a regular basis to cope with the absence of her partner, and the burden of raising two children.Leonie is also haunted by visions of her dead brother which tend to accompany her efforts to get high. She has some rather dubious acquaintances and strange priorities which come to the fore as she takes her two children to collect their father from prison.

You can sense this book is not an easy read from the opening scenes of animal slaughter. Not a great idea to read this book if you are squeamish about death, ghosts, vomit or poorly treated children. So now that I've completely put you off, I'm going to roll things back a little and possibly appear a tad contrary by saying I think it was actually a fantastic novel.It is so real and harrowing that it will stay with you. I guess nothing good comes easy right?

5 out of 5 bad road trips involve puke.

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