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Salvage the Bones

by Jesmyn Ward

Hurricane Katrina is fast approaching the Gulf of Mexico, and 15 year-old Esch and her impoverished, motherless family are making preparations to try to survive it. They may be poor, but the bond between Esch (newly pregnant) and her three brothers is both strong and, for the reader, uplifting. Covering the 12 days leading up to and immediately beyond the hurricane's arrival, this is a powerful piece of writing that will keep you on the edge.

Extract

We sat in the open attic until the wind quieted from jet fighter planes to coughing puffs. We sat in the open attic until the sky brightened from a sick orange to a clean white gray. We sat in the open attic until the water, which had milled like a boiling soup beneath us, receded inch by inch, back into the woods. We sat in the open attic until the rain eased to drips. We sat in the open attic until we got cold, and the light wind that blew chilled us. We huddled together in Mother Lizbeth's attic and tried to rub heat from each other, but couldn't. We were a pile of wet, cold branches, human debris in the middle of all the rest of it.

Parallels

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
 

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