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Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones

Lost in the City (original 1992; edition 2004)

by Edward P. Jones

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Title:Lost in the City
Authors:Edward P. Jones
Info:Harper Paperbacks (2004), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

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Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones (1992)



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7. Lost in the City : Stories by Edward P. Jones
published: 1992
format: 268 page paperback
acquired: from Borders in 2005
read: Jan 28 - Feb 5
rating: 4½

"...he was left with the ever-increasing vastness of the small apartment..."

Struggling just to get myself sitting and reading and actually blocking out the world a bit, and I picked this up to see if it would help. The collection of stories was the right kind of halfway step. Those ten, twenty, thirty minutes of focus were well rewarded, even if they came here in there, in a spotty way, between long draws on fb and the news and dwelling about where our world is headed—still obsessed.

Jones is special, and one-off personality with a wonderfully one-off take on his stories and their perspectives. You almost don't notice it. Each of these stories take place in Washington, D.C., that other Washington, D.C. Every character is black, each has roots in the south, either by birth or one generation removed, and each has been in D.C. for the majority or the entirety of their lives. The general poverty, limited opportunity, the divide from the white world are all taken for granted, accepted. It's an odd thing how few of these characters rebel, they live and breath this world as if there is no other.

I'm hard pressed to place what it is that makes these stories work. I mean, of course they're interesting and have an odd assortment of characters, orphans, drug dealers, shop owners, suspect parents, convoluted relationship, escape artists of all sorts—getting lost in the city being a goal more than a problem. But, there is something else here that makes these stories work beyond their often terrific opening paragraphs, and despite their anticlimactic and unsatisfying endings. Published in 1992, written, apparently, throughout the 80's, and about characters often from the 1960's, there are a mixture of eras captured in tone, and atmosphere, and none of them our right now. But I enjoyed pretty much every one of these.

"About four that afternoon the thunder and lightning began again. The four women seated about Carmona Boone's efficiency apartment grew still and spoke in whispers, when they spoke at all: They were each of them no longer young, and they had all been raised to believe that weather was—aside from answered prayers—the closest thing to the voice of God. And so each in her way listened."

Recommended. ( )
  dchaikin | Feb 7, 2017 |
Very good collection. I can't wait to have some time to finish reading it. Strong voices, strong characterization, a variety of thoughts and feelings. I'm glad Jones is not just another flavor of the minute. I'll happily read more of his work. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones is just an excellent collection of short stories set in Washington DC during the 50's to 70's. The characters are black, many elderly. Jones captures a mood and situation brilliantly. The stories reverberate with humanity struggling with the effort of making sense of life. ( )
  snash | Feb 29, 2012 |
I'm a huge, huge Edward P. Jones fan. ( )
  candacekvance | Apr 17, 2009 |
What a wonderful collection of stories. Jones is spectacular at capturing nuanced dialogue. ( )
  pennyd | Dec 13, 2008 |
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Her father would say years later that she had dreamed that part of it, that she had never gone out through the kitchen window at two or three in the morning to visit the birds.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006079528X, Paperback)

The nation's capital that serves as the setting for the stories in Edward P. Jones's prizewinning collection, Lost in the City, lies far from the city of historic monuments and national politicians. Jones takes the reader beyond that world into the lives of African American men and women who work against the constant threat of loss to maintain a sense of hope. From "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons" to the well-to-do career woman awakened in the night by a phone call that will take her on a journey back to the past, the characters in these stories forge bonds of community as they struggle against the limits of their city to stave off the loss of family, friends, memories, and, ultimately, themselves.

Critically acclaimed upon publication, Lost in the City introduced Jones as an undeniable talent, a writer whose unaffected style is not only evocative and forceful but also filled with insight and poignancy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Lost in the City features 15 poignant short stories, each set in Washington, D.C. Far removed from marble monuments and the offices of rich politicians, the nation's capital that Jones captures is inhabited by self-willed African-Americans struggling to live their lives as best they can.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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