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The Known World by Edward P. Jones
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The Known World (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Edward P. Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,750None981 (3.76)184
Member:harryo19
Title:The Known World
Authors:Edward P. Jones
Info:Amistad (2006), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003)

  1. 20
    Cane River by Lalita Tademy (cataylor)
  2. 20
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 10
    The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (Widsith)
    Widsith: The obvious companion-piece...both Pulitzer-winning novels about slavery in 19th-century Virginia
  4. 10
    The Book of Night Women by Marlon James (GCPLreader)
    GCPLreader: quite different setting and story of slavery but equally gorgeous literary style
  5. 10
    Sweetsmoke by David Fuller (sungene)
  6. 00
    Property by Valerie Martin (Alirob)
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» See also 184 mentions

English (111)  Dutch (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
This was an interesting book about slavery, race and families in Manchester County, Virginia. I liked the interactions between the characters, including Moses and Caldonia. ( )
  krin5292 | Feb 17, 2014 |
The topic was more interesting to me than the actual book, black slaveholders. I plodded along and found the writing to be prosaic, some of the characters were interesting and abundant, the story flipped back and forth in time demanding careful attention. There was a sense of sitting on a Southern porch listening to family tales while, at the same time, some of those stories were too horrific for the porch. I read the book for a book club and was surprised at how little debate came up on the issues presented in the novel. We mostly discussed structure and plot. ( )
  featherbooks | Jan 17, 2014 |
Best book I read all year (and that's with formidable competition). A novel that takes place in a fictional Virginia county in the decades before the Civil War. Forty or so characters--slaves and slave owners, free blacks and abducted blacks--are introduced and developed in vivid detail. It's very moving, sometimes funny, extremely engrossing, and it gets across the slaving realities of the time better than any other book I've come across. ( )
  goldsteph | Dec 25, 2013 |
Excellent and harrowing novel of black slave owners... ( )
  DavidO1103 | Dec 15, 2013 |
I am not particularly interested in historical literature set in the pre-Civil War South, but picked this book up based upon some of the Amazon reviews. I'm not sorry I did. It is interesting and thought provoking and provides a unique view of the world known to those living in that time and place.

I agree somewhat that the author's writing style was difficult at times and several times I had to reread sentences. Also, the huge number of characters is confusing especially if one is not able to read the book in a short time period. There is a list of characters in the back which I did use as a reference several times. However, the theme, the characters, and the description of the setting far outweigh these "annoyances."

I liked Jones' way to hinting what would happen to the characters later and I, like another reviewer, liked the chapter headings and I felt the title was so appropriate.

In short, an interesting book which portrays another view of slavery and its effect on the slaves and the owners. Those of us in the current century can be quick to judge those people that lived in that time, but we must remember that Manchester County was the only world known to the characters. For those readers that want another perspective of our country's history, I would suggest this book. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 16, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
My soul's often wondered how I got over. . . .
Dedication
TO MY BROTHER
JOSEPH V. JONES

And, again,

TO THE MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER
JEANETTE S.M. JONES
who could have done much more in a better world.

First words
The evening his master died he worked again well after he ended the day for the other adults, his own wife among them, and sent them back with hunger and tiredness to their cabins.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Set in Manchester County, Virginia, 20 years before the Civil War began, Edward P. Jones's debut novel, The Known World, is a masterpiece of overlapping plot lines, time shifts, and heartbreaking details of life under slavery. Caldonia Townsend is an educated black slaveowner, the widow of a well-loved young farmer named Henry, whose parents had bought their own freedom, and then freed their son, only to watch him buy himself a slave as soon as he had saved enough money. Although a fair and gentle master by the standards of the day, Henry Townsend had learned from former master about the proper distance to keep from one's property. After his death, his slaves wonder if Caldonia will free them. When she fails to do so, but instead breaches the code that keeps them separate from her, a little piece of Manchester County begins to unravel. Impossible to rush through, The Known World is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected connections, some reaching into the present day.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061159174, Paperback)

Set in Manchester County, Virginia, 20 years before the Civil War began, Edward P. Jones's debut novel, The Known World, is a masterpiece of overlapping plot lines, time shifts, and heartbreaking details of life under slavery. Caldonia Townsend is an educated black slaveowner, the widow of a well-loved young farmer named Henry, whose parents had bought their own freedom, and then freed their son, only to watch him buy himself a slave as soon as he had saved enough money. Although a fair and gentle master by the standards of the day, Henry Townsend had learned from former master about the proper distance to keep from one's property. After his death, his slaves wonder if Caldonia will free them. When she fails to do so, but instead breaches the code that keeps them separate from her, a little piece of Manchester County begins to unravel. Impossible to rush through, The Known World is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected connections, some reaching into the present day. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:00 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

When a plantation proprietor and former slave--now possessing slaves of his own--dies, his household falls apart in the wake of a slave rebellion and corrupt underpaid patrollers who enable free black people to be sold into slavery.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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