Sing, Unburied, Sing is a heart-wrenching reading experience. It is the kind of book you may have to put down for a moment, because the content is upsetting at times. Simultaneously it’s also so compelling you can’t tear yourself away from it.
It tells the incredibly sad story of Jojo, the biracial child of a black mother and a white father. Mother spends the majority of her time getting high and his father is behind bars most of the time. Jojo and his baby sister are cared for by his mother’s parents, mainly because Leonie neglects them and they don’t exist for the white side of the family.
Leonie decides to take the children along on a road trip to pick their father up from prison, which becomes a catalyst for fragile relationships and tensions between all of them. Throughout the whole ordeal I just wanted to reach out and help Jojo and his baby sister. To save them from the brutal reality of their existence.
Ward has created a passionate and lyrical vision, which is simultaneously fraught with emotion and tempered by the brusque reactions of the characters. The reader is confronted with the harsh realities of racism, child abuse and neglect, and drug abuse.
It sings the silent song of all the men, women and children who have fallen prey to hatred and injustice. The forgotten who are trapped in an endless hell that is neither here nor there, because they can’t cross over or find peace. The ones who will never have any kind of justice.
It is both magical and mystical in equal measure. It is an outstanding piece of literature.
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Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018