Writer Jesmyn Ward is haunted by ghosts from the past

The narrators in Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing are haunted by ghosts.
The narrators in Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing are haunted by ghosts.PHOTO: BEOWULF SHEEHAN

The ghosts in author Jesmyn Ward's third novel represent unfinished business, and she herself longs for a visit from her brother, who was killed when he was 19

"Ghosts are unfinished business," says American author Jesmyn Ward, "and as black people in a country that formerly enslaved us, we have a lot of that."

Her third novel Sing, Unburied, Sing is haunted by such ghosts. Its narrators, 13-year-old mixed-race Jojo and his drug addict mother Leonie, can see them - from a black boy murdered in prison at the age of 12 to Leonie's 19-year-old brother Given, who was shot dead by a white man and who appears to her when she takes cocaine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2018, with the headline 'Haunted by ghosts from the past'. Print Edition | Subscribe