It is difficult, from a position of white privilege, to imagine the lives that the characters in Salvage the Bones lead. It is also difficult to imagine the power and fury of Hurricane Katrina. The electricity in my neighborhood stayed on when Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012; it went out for about three days a year before during an October snowstorm. The roof remained intact during both storms and Sandy did not bring a major body of water into my neighborhood.
Despite a lack of relevant experience, I find Jesmyn Ward’s description of the Batiste family and their ordeal believable and hard to forget. The story has its brutal moments and its compassionate moments. The reader can be drawn into both without voyeurism or sentimentality. The narrative, descriptive passages, and dialog are clean and unpretentious. I’m not sure where the title comes from, but maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention.
I don’t want to know what it’s like to face a category-5 hurricane. I do want to be able to see past white privilege to get a better view of the plight of the real Claudes, Eshes, Randalls, Skeetahs, and Juniors on the Gulf Coast who did face it. Salvage the Bones helps.
Thanks as always for stopping by.