Salvage the Bones

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Salvage the Bones
AuthorJesmyn Ward
CountryUnited States
PublisherBloomsbury (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Preceded byWhere the Line Bleeds 
Followed byMen We Reaped 

Salvage the Bones is a 2011 novel by Jesmyn Ward and was the 2011 recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction.[1] The novel explores the plight of a working-class African-American family in Mississippi as they prepare for Hurricane Katrina and follows them through the aftermath of the storm.[1] Ward, who had lived through Katrina, wrote the novel, after being very "dissatisifed with the way Katrina had receded from public consciousness".[2]

In an interview with the Paris Review, Ward said she drew inspiration from Medea and the works of William Faulkner.[2]


As a winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, the novel received a largely positive reception. The LA Times described it as an "under-the-radar" second novel, which deserves the award.[3] The reviewer described the book as a successful depiction of Southern life and culture and "an intense book, with powerful, direct prose that dips into poetic metaphor."[3] Similarly the New York Times Sunday Book Review called the novel "a taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written."[4] The Washington Post wrote that "it’ll be a long time before its magic wears off" and that the novel has the "aura of a classic about it."[5]


  1. ^ a b "Readers' Review: "Salvage The Bones" By Jesmyn Ward - The Diane Rehm Show". The Diane Rehm Show. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  2. ^ a b Hoover, Elizabeth (2011-08-30). "Jesmyn Ward on 'Salvage the Bones'". Paris Review Daily. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  3. ^ a b Kellogg, Carolyn (2011-12-04). "Book review: 'Salvage the Bones' by Jesmyn Ward". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  4. ^ Sehgal, Parul (2011-12-30). "Salvage The Bones - By Jesmyn Ward - Book Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  5. ^ Charles, Ron (2011-10-31). "Jesmyn Ward's 'Salvage the Bones,' reviewed by Ron Charles". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-03-29.