Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Seven novels about very dysfunctional families

Stacey Swann holds an M.F.A. from Texas State University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Memorious, Versal, and other journals, and she is a contributing editor of American Short Fiction. She is a native Texan.

Swann's debut novel is Olympus, Texas.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven novels about family members making each other miserable, including:
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

While there is a dysfunctional family at the heart of Sing, Unburied, Sing—Leonie takes her two children, 13-year-old Jojo and toddler Kayla, on a drug-running road trip to Parchman Farm, the Mississippi maximum security prison that is set to release their father—this novel’s reach expands so much further than that single scenario. Jojo and his sister have been living with Leonie’s parents, and the ghosts of both Leonie’s brother and Richie, a boy that Jojo’s grandfather knew during his own time at Parchman Farm, come to life in the pages of the book, both victims of violence too large and too cruel to not seep forward into the lives of the still living. Ward gives us insight into racism past and present in America, and the strength of love and family in the face of it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Sing, Unburied Sing is among Una Mannion’s top ten books about children fending for themselves, Sahar Mustafah's seven novels about grieving a family member and LitHub's ten books we'll be reading in ten years.

--Marshal Zeringue