As the twelve days that comprise the novel’s framework yield to the final day and Hurricane Katrina, the unforgettable family at the novel’s heart — motherless children sacrificing for each other as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce — pulls itself up to struggle for another day. A wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bone is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real. Award: National Book Award
Jackie Macon has built a successful career for herself. Only months before her retirement, new mandatory background checks threaten to expose Jackie’s darkest secrets, secrets she’s kept buried for nearly fifty years. As Jackie pleads with her husband Peter for help, her carefully hidden past unfolds.
Jende and Neni new immigrants to America from Cameroon; hope to build a better life for their young son, Liomi. But they’re barely able to make ends meet. Their luck changes suddenly, though, when Jende finds work as a personal chauffeur for a Lehman Brothers executive. His salary is a massive improvement over his previous job.
Behold the Dreamers is, at times, hard because the characters keep getting hit, over and over again, by horrible circumstances beyond their control. It isn’t a satire, but it’s frequently caustic, and Mbue can be unsparing in her depiction of the elite who didn’t see their very existence threatened by the financial collapse of 2008.
It’s a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American. Source: PBS