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The Known World (2003)

de Edward P. Jones

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6,8831631,365 (3.8)287
Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

From Edward P. Jones comes one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory??winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order, and chaos ensues.

Edward P. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

"A masterpiece that deserves a place in the American literary canon."??Time… (mais)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 162 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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 | May 7, 2024 |
This is a complex book about a historical fact that, although uncommon, existed; free blacks became slaveholders. One would like to think that free blacks would be more likely to be abolitionists. In this book, we meet characters that see slaveholding as a sign of prestige. Slavery affected them in a perverse way- they embraced the values of the social system that enslaved them.
My edition had an interview with the author in which he asks the essential question the book deals with: "What are the human origins and social impact of an institution built on dominance and oppression?"
Very thought-provoking. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
If found it hard to get through, despite some striking moments, and some interesting glimpses into the lives of slaves and free black slave-owners. I think the collage-like structure - jumping around between a variety of loosely connected plots and characters - is a promising literary device in theory that Edward Jones doesn't quite master in practice, leaving me uniformly indifferent to all of the characters (and indeed there are so many that it can be hard to follow the story of some of them). Perhaps that's the biggest fault of the book - there's little reason to care about any individual character in narrative that spreads itself thinly among so many. ( )
  breathslow | Jan 27, 2024 |
This is an adult book of interest to teens,
  VillageProject | Jan 25, 2024 |
I have just finished The Known World and I remain puzzled about the story, wondering why I stuck with it to the end.The Known World is a fiction about a fictional place. But it is set in antebellum Virginia. A white plantation owner fathers children by his black concubine. He allows a talented slave in his estate to buy his freedom and the freedom of his family. A freed black buys slaves in his own right. But the free black is still subject to the laws and morays of a slave state. The laws protect the property of the whites ahead of blacks even though they are officially colour neutral. This is what constitutes "the known world" inside The Known World. Then I ask myself, what is unknown about this world. To the whites, the inner lives of the blacks are unknown, or ignored. What is unknown is in the night, beyond the borders of Manchester County, and what the future will bring. The death of the black slave owner is the wheel about which characters and their fate are set in motion. It is a clever device. It unpacks what is not known in the hearts of men. Author Edward P. Jones sneaks in fictional information about the fictional future of Manchester County, but no-one knows that the day is coming when all the slaves will be freed. In many ways, The Known World is a deeply unhappy and pessimistic work. It foreshadows no good for the slaves, no good for women in this society, and no honour for the slave owners. Religion is a crutch and there is little redemption for sinners in this world. Sometimes children escape the clutches of their fate, but more often than not, they do not. The light of day brings us to the obvious conclusions about what is known. It is stark and the evil is unrelenting. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 162 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Among the many triumphs of ''The Known World,'' not the least is Jones's transformation of a little-known footnote in history into a story that goes right to the heart of slavery. There are few certified villains in this novel, white or black, because slavery poisons moral judgments at the root
adicionado por charl08 | editarNew York Times
 
One great achievement of Edward Jones's Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Known World is the circumscription of its moral vision, which locates the struggle between good and evil not in the vicissitudes of the diabolical slaveholding system of the American south, but inside the consciousness of each person, black or white, slave or free, who attempts to flourish within that soul-deadening system
 

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My soul's often wondered how I got over. . . .
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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.

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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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Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

From Edward P. Jones comes one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory??winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order, and chaos ensues.

Edward P. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

"A masterpiece that deserves a place in the American literary canon."??Time

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