Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (National Book Award winner)

With Hurricane Katrina in the background, a broken family—living among chicken coops and rusty trucks—tries to make sense of an unexpected pregnancy, a prize pit bull upon whom they pin all their hopes, and the storm that will either bind them together or tear them apart.

It may sound like just another story about family dysfunction, adversity, and resilience, but the scenes involving one of the brother’s relationship with his pit bull, China, rank as some of the most visceral writing I’ve ever read. And though I’m not a fan of pit bulls, I found myself rooting for China all the way.

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