(FICTION) Bois Sauvage, Miss., is the kind of place where a black man might be shot dead because of a bet gone awry, and where the authorities might agree to deem the incident a “hunting accident.” A place where ignoring a No Trespassing sign can get you chased off a white man’s property at the barrel of a gun. And where being black and poor or white and unlucky might get you sent upstate to Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, which has evolved only superficially from the long-ago days when it operated like a plantation: “the long line. Men strung out across the fields, the trusty shooters stalking the edge, the driver on his mule, the caller yelling to the sun, throwing his working song out.” Though it’s a fictional town, Bois Sauvage is as mired in its own history as, frankly, most real places in America, a fact that has become painfully plain in the handful of years since Trayvon Martin’s killing first made headlines. Readers of Jesmyn Ward’s 2011 National Book Award-winning “Salvage the Bones” will recognize Bois as the setting where 14-year-old Esch and her family live out the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. In “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” Ward’s third novel, it is home to 13-year-old Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, who live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop. Pop mans the homestead, tending to the goat yard, pigpen and chicken coop with an emphatic correctness, hoping to teach Jojo what it is to be a man. Mam is in the end stages of cancer, but remains held back from passing on by something that won’t let her go. Leonie, the children’s mother, disappears for days at a time, then comes home grinding her jaw from another drug bender. Leonie’s greatest addiction, though, and one that borders on a self-annihilating compulsion, is her love for Michael, the white father of her children who has been locked up for three years at Parchman. When Michael calls to say he’s been released, Leonie insists upon taking her children (and Misty, the friend she gets high with) on a road trip to collect him. She can’t resist the chance to make her nuclear family whole again, even if it may not want to stay that way. The bond she and Michael share is not a calm one. They fight just as hard as they love, though the things that hamstring them have mostly to do with the people around them — with Michael’s racist parents, and with Jojo and Kayla, who belong more to each other and to Mam and Pop than to Leonie. So she sets out to do this one thing, to pick up her man and show him and everyone else that they really and truly are a family.