Esch Batiste is a fourteen-year old girl quickly coming-of-age in an impoverished, coastal Mississippi town. Her mother died several years earlier, and she is left to live with her alcoholic father and three brothers. The story begins twelve days prior to Hurricane Katrina. The family is busy preparing for the storm as Esch experiences her own inner storm; she is pregnant. The full realization of her pregnancy occurs to Esch while watching her brother’s beloved pit pull give birth to puppies. The theme of motherhood continues to weave itself throughout the story as the Batiste children scramble to collect food and protect their home from the impending storm.
The winner of multiple awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction (2011), Salvage the Bones is an excellent choice for fans of literary fiction. The poetic nature of Ward’s writing, along with the emotional telling of one family’s endurance will appeal to those who enjoy thought-provoking, gripping story lines.