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“The burden of regret weighs heavily,” Jesmyn Ward writes in her memoir, Men We Reaped. “It is relentless.” Regret is the emotion that runs through Ward’s work, gothic and intensely focused on the black family, as her characters—both living and dead—are disappointed by words unsaid and roads untraveled. Her work is also relentless, as she never peers away from the abyss. That clear-eyed vision illuminates the story of a family preparing for the certain doom of Hurricane Katrina in 2011’s Salvage the Bones and the story of a family struggling to survive and find peace in last year’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, both of which won National Book Awards. Sing, Unburied, Sing, which Ward will speak about at the Sidwell Friends Meeting House, turns the simple, sad journey of a drug-addicted mother driving with her children to bring her husband home from the state penitentiary into an epic one where the ghosts of a family are also the ghosts of the South. Ward’s books are heavy, but the burden of regret is better understood when we read them. Read more>>> Jesmyn Ward speaks at 7 p.m. at Sidwell Friends Meeting House, 3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $18–$20. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Chris Kelly)


Philadelphia electro pop duo Marian Hill performs at 9:30 Club. 7 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $34.

Union Stage hosts folk singer-songwriter Josh Rouse‘s record release party performance for his latest album, Love In The Modern Age. 7:30 p.m. at 740 Water St. SW. $20–$30.

The Washington National Opera celebrates composer Leonard Bernstein‘s 100th birthday with its production of Candide, an English opera based on the novel by Voltaire. 7:30 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. $45–$275.

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