Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward

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Joshua and Christophe are twins, raised by a blind grandmother and a large extended family in a rural town on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. They’ve just finished high school and need to find jobs, but in a failing post-Katrina economy, it’s not easy. Joshua gets work on the docks, but Christophe’s not so lucky. Desperate to alleviate the family’s poverty, he starts to sell drugs. He can hide it from his grandmother but not his twin, and the two grow increasingly estranged. Christophe’s downward spiral is accelerated first by crack, then by the reappearance of the twins’ parents: Cille, who abandoned them, and Sandman, a creepy, predatory addict. Sandman taunts Christophe, eventually provoking a shocking confrontation that will ultimately damn or save both twins. Ward inhabits these characters, and this world — black Creole, poor, and drug-riddled, yet shored by family and community— to a rare degree, without a trace of irony or distance.

About Jesmyn Ward

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Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won five Hopwood awards for essays, drama, and fiction. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford, from 2008-2010, she has been named the 2010-11 Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds, was an Essence Magazine Book Club selection, a Black Caucus of the ALA Honor Award recipient, and a finalist for both the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.
Published November 1, 2008 by Agate Bolden. 230 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Where the Line Bleeds

Kirkus Reviews

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Caring for an ailing grandmother and just out of high school, the boys are holding their own in this backwater world until temptation presents itself: Joshua finds himself with some folding money after finding a job on the wharves, Christophe with yet more folding money after he takes up selling ...

Nov 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

Publishers Weekly

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But when Christophe decides to start selling more dangerous drugs, tensions between the twins grow, and the arrival of their long-absent drug addict father sparks a violent confrontation.

Sep 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds


There relationship with their mother is friendly but awkward, but their relationship with their father is non-existent.

Nov 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

Bookmarks Magazine

Warlord explores Churchill's strategies behind the major military campaigns of World War I and World War II—both his dazzling successes and disastrous failures—while also revealing his tumultuous relationships with his generals and other commanders, including Dwight D.

Nov 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

Austin Chronicle

The anomaly here – of a female, black author invoking the (white) father of Southern letters to explore the world of a poor, rural, black family – is an exciting proposition, with original and subversive implications.

Dec 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

Fiction Writers Review

Where the Line Bleeds is an Essence Book Club Selection, a 2009 Honor Award recipient from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Aug 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

APOOO Bookclub

By Darnetta Frazier • Feb 22nd, 2009 • Category: Book Review 2009 • Email This Post • Print This Post Jesmyn Ward created a nice story that depicted life in the south according to fraternal twins, Christophe and Joshua.

Feb 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Where the Line Bleeds

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