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Sing, Unburied, Sing is a lyrical tale with harsh truths to tell

Jesmyn Ward’s third novel grapples with the long shadow cast by slavery in the American South

By Josie Mitchell   February 2018

Jesmyn Ward's new novel focusses on the legacy of slavery in the South. Photo: PA

Toni Morrison was asked in a recent interview why skin colour still makes or breaks people in America. “We got started that way,” she responded. Jesmyn Ward’s third novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the long shadow cast by slavery in the American South—not just the cycles of inherited trauma and alienation, but the mass incarceration of black men today.

This terrible legacy is embodied in the trials of one Gulf Coast family. Thirteen-year-old…

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