100 Books That Defined the Decade
For good, for bad, for ugly.
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017)
Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds.
Essential stats: It won the National Book Award and was on almost everyone’s list of the best books of the year—including President Obama’s. It was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Not too shabby. Ward was on TIME‘s list of most influential people in 2018—in the citation, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels wrote that she “captures the African-American experience with authenticity and nuance. She is a modern-day William Faulkner, painting tapestries of an America that has not been heard.” He wasn’t the first person to compare Ward to Faulkner, either.
But what’s the deal: For someone with two National Book Awards, Jesmyn Ward is still relatively (and bizarrely) under-read—or maybe just under-discussed. (Which is a defining fact all of its own.)
Listen to an excerpt here:
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