BOOK NOTES – SALVAGE THE BO­NES by Gi­li Ben-Zvi

Bücher Magazin - - Literatur Live -

Last ye­ar, bet­ween sum­mer and fall, the wea­ther ran, yet again, amuck, and a stran­ge mood was in the air. As I tur­ned to TV in ho­pe of es­cape, I ca­me across a la­te night talk show in­ter­view with Jes­myn Ward, an Ame­ri­can aut­hor who spo­ke of ma­jor the­mes in her wri­ting with a cha­ris­ma­tic pull. In a par­al­lel re­ac­tion to the ano­ma­lous at­mo­s­phe­re, my lo­cal books­to­re dis­play­ed an ar­ray of cli­ma­te re­la­ted tit­les among which was Ward’s se­cond book “Salvage The Bo­nes”. The no­vel spans 12 days in the cour­se of hur­ri­ca­ne Ka­tri­na as it struck the Gulf Co­ast of the Uni­ted Sta­tes. On the outs­kirts of a poor, rural town in Mis­sis­sip­pi, fif­teen ye­ar old Esch, li­ves with her th­ree bro­thers and fa­ther, as they face an up­co­m­ing ca­la­mi­ty, a na­tu­ral di­sas­ter which strains the al­re­a­dy me­ager re­sour­ces of their di­sen­fran­chised com­mu­ni­ty. Ward’s bril­li­an­ce co­mes from her abili­ty to crea­te a rea­lis­tic nar­ra­ti­ve of hardship that is neit­her voy­eu­ris­tic nor sen­sa­tio­na­list, that is in­ha­bi­ted by cha­rac­ters that are not re­stric­ted to the cir­cum­stan­ces of their exis­tence, and per­mits us to ta­ke part in their li­ves. I was ab­sor­bed by the sto­ry’s wil­ling­ness to be told. The book had a lin­ge­ring ef­fect, it took ti­me for it to cle­ar up, for me to mo­ve on, to be able to re­ad ano­ther work of fic­tion that wasn’t ren­de­red pa­le in com­pa­ri­son to “Salvage The Bo­nes”.

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