inveterate_reader, January 16, 2010 (view all comments by inveterate_reader)
I'm not usually a fan of short stories, so this book sat on my shelf for years before I cracked it. I had heard about Edward P. Jones' Pulitzer-prize winning novel, and a colleague gave me this book.
Jones is an absolute master. I lived in D.C., and it was fascinating to get a peek into 'Chocolate City' in the decades before I was born. At least half the stories are set before the civil rights era, and black Washington is portrayed here with all its dreams, shames, desperation and achievements.
Jones' first book of short stories is linked to this book, with many of the same characters. I can't wait to read it.
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Abby, July 2, 2008 (view all comments by Abby)
I absolutely adored Edward P Jones' novel 'the known world' and I can not help but compare this collection to my awe of that book, therefore I found it lacking. If you read this you must read 'the known world'.
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"Edward P. Jones takes his time and gets spectacular results....Since his first collection...Jones has opened up his stories. They're longer and richer, and occasional touches of magic realism creep into their typically calm and elegant accumulation of details."
by Chicago Tribune,
"[All Aunt Hagar's Children] brings together more than a dozen of [Jones's] stories...Individually, they show off the art of a writer with unusual talent and an often-eccentric approach to his material."
by Boston Globe,
"Like William Trevor and Alice Munro, Jones compresses whole novels into these stories....In this powerful and bleak book, the dead serve one other function: They remind us our lease is not always renewed."
by Seattle Times,
"The writers he calls to mind are Eudora Welty and Alice Munro at their most venturesome, stretching what a story can do, yet always staying true to the spirit of place."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Each of the stories reads like a novel, jumping around in time, introducing us to myriad characters with unyielding histories."
by Baltimore Sun,
"The fourteen stories...traverse the length of the 20th century as it was experienced in black neighborhoods in and around Washington....It's a work of the highest art."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"These are long and rigorously developed stories that have a craftsman quality about them....It is nostalgia full of both pain and wonder, nostalgia very much worth visiting."
The 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction returns with a collection of 14 short stories.
by Harper Collins,
In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in The New Yorker, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known Worldshows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever
Returning to the city that inspired his first prizewinning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washington, D.C., home. Yet it is not the city's power brokers that most concern him but rather its ordinary citizens. All Aunt Hagar's Childrenturns an unflinching eye to the men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them further north, people who in Jones's masterful hands, emerge as fully human and morally complex, whether they are country folk used to getting up with the chickens or people with centuries of education behind them.
In the title story, in which Jones employs the first-person rhythms of a classic detective story, a Korean War veteran investigates the death of a family friend whose sorry destiny seems inextricable from his mother's own violent Southern childhood. In "In the Blink of God's Eye" and "Tapestry" newly married couples leave behind the familiarity of rural life to pursue lives of urban promise only to be challenged and disappointed.
With the legacy of slavery just a stone's throw away and the future uncertain, Jones's cornucopia of characters will haunt readers for years to come.
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