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In one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Edward P. Jones, two-time National Book Award finalist, 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. In a daring and ambitious novel, Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all of its moral complexities.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Topics: Slavery, Race Relations, Friendship, Social Class, Realism, Civil War Period, and Virginia

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061746369
List price: $11.11
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The measured cadence of the store indicts the institution of slavery ever worse than polemics could.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The story of the pecking order amongst slaves on a plantation and what happens when a slave becomes free and owns his own slaves. Interesting story about cruelty and compassion.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In my estimation, The Known World was worthy of the Pulitzer. Beautifully told. The points of view and conflicts about former slaves owning slaves were told in shades of gray. It was not preachy. It fully demonstrated the complexities of life situations. I would recommend it highly.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The usual: would I recommend it? Definitely, with no restrictions, except for those who want something extremely linear to follow as far as plot. This book weaves in and out of time so if you're put off by that sort of thing, then don't pick this one up.I loved this book!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Do yourself a huge favor and read it. I had no idea that there were black slaveholders before I bought this book. In fact, this premise is what drew my eye to the book ... long before it had won any awards or ended up on any bestseller list. I've had it sitting here since it first came out and I'm only mad at myself for not having read it sooner.I will begin my impressions of this book by starting at the end, where a man is in Washington DC in 1861, sees a line of people & gets in it because he's curious. When he reaches the object of his curiosity, he finds a tapesty an artist has done which he immediately knows is the plantation of Henry Townsend in Manchester County VA -- it moves him to describe it as "what God sees when He looks down on Manchester;" "a map of life made with every kind of art man has ever thought to represent himself." (384) It is, in fact, a recreation done of the place where the viewer grew up, every detail stunning in its perfection, down to the flowers on Henry Townsend's grave.It is Henry Townsend's death which begins the book; afterwards we come to know Henry through stories that capture him in his childhood as a slave on the Robbins Plantation, then as a freed man, and finally as the owner of his own home and land, complete with slaves. These are not told linearly, but go in and out of the story through different events and different times. As Henry's story is told, it is by necessity interwoven with the stories of the people in Manchester, including the slaves on Henry's farm, slave owners, poor whites, those who only see slaves as commodities from which to profit, and other freed blacks who own slaves who have secret aspirations & desires of becoming as powerful as the white people. Not only is the present examined for all of these people, but their pasts and their eventual fates are offered as well. No one in Manchester was left unaffected by slavery.The author's tone is very muted and understated; the prose is most excellent and really draws you to keep reading. The story itself is unique. The characters are alive & real and by the end of this book I had been so sucked in to the story I did not want it to end.I can't recommend it enough.read more
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It is common for the bloggers on the Guardian website, which attracts far too many young capitalist Thatcherite wannabies for my liking, to sneer at literary prizes. It is fashionable among them to assume an intimate inside appreciation of, supposedly, cutting edge non-mainstream writing in some literary backwater such as sci-fi or graphic novels.-Whereas, I find literary accolades to be a super guide to selecting books by authors I have not heard of whilst trawling the shelves of charity bookshops for pearls at an affordable price of between one or two pounds. This book is very much a case in point. I had never heard of Edward P. Jones but could safely assume that the winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2005 Impac Award was not going to be on a par with Maeve Binchy or Jilly Cooper.-And so, I end up with a superb read. A novel to luxuriate in that tackles the subject of slavery in the Southern American states with an equal stature to Toni Morrison's Beloved. Plus, as an added bonus, a touch of my greatest love, post-modernism thrown in. One review I read disliked the self-referential real or fictional research notes but I found them a superb addition to the overall style of the book. This was one to read slowly and to enjoy.read more
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Southwest Virginia (before the Civil War) comes alive through the family of Henry Townsend, a freed slave who comes to own slaves of his own. A complicated story of relationships between blacks and whites in a time of unrest.read more
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This novel is about the rare slave owners of pre civil war America who were themselves black. While the concept of the book is highly unique, overall I wasn't thrilled with the style. However, the concept alone kept me at it and I enjoyed the tale. If nothing else it made me want to research this small tidbit of history to see if there is any validity to it. While the book was slow going due to time constraints I'm glad I stuck with it. The later half of the book improves on the first.read more
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When I read in the critiques of this book that the Boston Globe said that I would have "difficulty leaving [the book] on the last page", I was hopeful. I was indeed. One of the best books I have read in a long time. This book is so masterfully written... the authors ability to convey all sides of the characters blew me away. You see the bad behavior of some... then gain perspective when their character takes center stage later on. I came to know the characters and, as promised, I was loathe to leave the story behind. very, very highly recommended.read more
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It may be that I am not well read in this style of writing but I can honestly say that I never finished this book and the 1/2 I did read I had to read over many times until it started to make sense. I have no idea why this work won a Pulitzer it is complex for no reason and it leaves readers like me waiting for it to finally come to a point, which (for as far as I got) it never did.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Known World is the story of a black in the American pre-Civil War south. He gains his freedom, then acquires slaves of his own. The book is about his relationship to his slaves, and his relationship to the rest of the community. The book is difficult to read. It struck me as a collection of short stories glued together by a few common characters. The stories jump around in time, making it difficult to follow and the characters difficult to keep separate. There is no discernible plot in the book and each story is left to stand on its own. Edward's sentences tend to run on, making the book difficult to read on another level. I found the characters a bit flat. There were none that I felt any ties to. Generally, the stories are fairly nonviolent, but a few break that trend, some can be difficult to read. Some of the short stories are interesting and informative. The author works in historical information to tie the story to events we are familiar with. In spite of its having won a Pulitzer, it isn't one I can recommend. I didn't even finish this book, although I have strong urges to finish it just for completeness. Some people seem to get a lot out of the book, but I did not.read more
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For all the beautiful prose and the interesting setting, I found it almost impossible to stay interested in this novel.read more
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A book worth reading. Jones will seem to wander off topic, but even if it seems tangential, you'll probably hear tell of it again. Each character, whether a brief cameo or a protagonist, is vividly sketched. Jones has a voice worth paying attention to. If you liked this book, try Lost in the City, his first short story collection, or All Aunt Hagar's Children, his second, both concerning black life in Washington, D.C., among other things.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Thought provoking story on slavery from an interesting angle: black slave owners. Beautifully written, although hard to follow at times.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
before i read this book i had no idea that freed black people in the south also owned slaves. it is a very well-written account of the complexities of freedom and identity in virginia before the civil war.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read this book with a book club. I had never heard of it. I loved it. It was easy to read. Many, many characters but the author made them all so individual I could remember who they were when they reappeared after a 100 page absence. Loved this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Well-written and engrossing story of free blacks owning slaves. A quiet, plodding sort-of book examining each character's view with the undertones of violence and injustice always beneath the surface. Enlightening in its portrayal of a slave's life -- I particularly liked the character of Elias. But personally, I was glad to finish the book -- it was almost like eating too much fudge. I'm going to nitpik about the author's references to the U. S. Census. (page 7) I realize the town or county of Manchester, VA is made-up for the purposes of the novel however the reference to the census: "included a...man who...according to the U. S. Census of 1860 legally owned his own wife...5 children...3 grandchildren". In 1860 no specific relationships to the head-of-household are stated in the enumeration (that doesn't begin until 1880) nor should the wife and others have been counted twice (both with the free man's household and with the slaves). If the wife and children were listed as servants (though the author doesn't say this) with the free man this would not in anyway indicate they were "owned" by the head-of-the-household. Also, being listed as servants would mean they were not slaves. In both the 1850 and 1860 censuses, slaves were listed separately on the slave schedules under the owner's name. They were identified as males or females and their ages were noted, nothing more (other than, of course, the county, post office district or township, and state they were in). It is one of the frustrating aspects of African-American genealogical research where one usually has to assume by the owner's last name and the age/sex of the slave that perhaps one is looking at one's ancestor. A worthy read but taxing.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Incredible book. A little like Gone with the Wind but with former slaves who become slave owners. The writing is riveting and a little mysticism thrown in makes this one of my favorite books read in 2008.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Unarguably one of the best books ever written.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I could not finish this book. The story line meandered, and I was losing track and interest with the twisted story line and characters. While I am a lover of antebellum stories set in the South, sadly, I couldn't get past the first 60 pages with this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
"I had almost forgotten where I was," Winifred said, meaning the South, meaning the world of human property. (p. 34)Set in a fictitious Virginia county around 1840, Edward Jones' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a story of slavery; specifically, the rare occurrence of slaves owned by free black people. The plot revolves around landowner Henry Townsend, his wife Caldonia, and the events following Henry's untimely death. The novel explores themes of prejudice, the ignorance and brutality of white men, and the potential for every slave to make their own way once free.Jones' narrative style is non-linear, branching off from events of 1840 to those in the distant past or future. Foreshadowing is frequently used to predict a character's success or failure, or the state of relationships: "Neither Robbins nor Colfax would know it for a very long time but that day was the high point of their friendship." (p. 39) This is used effectively, for example, to show how a child slave becomes a free and independent adult, while keeping the novel firmly set in a period of just a few years' time. And, while many of the characters lack depth, the women in this novel are amazingly strong, singlehandedly holding the community together.I found Jones' literary techniques interesting, and he successfully held my interest. However, I found myself unable to get inside the characters and this detracted from my enjoyment of this book. Not a bad read, but not the great read I'd expect from a Pulitzer winner.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A great view into the world of slavery, how humans were viewed as property, and how that view transcended, at times, the color boundary. A very good read, especially for those interested in that time period of American history.(Candice)read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The stories told in this novel are compelling; the premise of African-Americans is unique. However, the author's use of flashbacks and flash forwards can be distracting and confusing. The characters are well drawn and become like neighbors down the lane.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lyrical book, made up of interwoven, individual sagas concerning the black slaves of black slave owners in Virginia.The Known World is tinged with magic (like Toni Morrison's novels), and at the same time grounded in research. The prose has a mythic ring, probably because of the way the narrative leaps from story to story and uses physical details as small weights to anchor those stories.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I finished reading this book with mixed feelings. On one hand, The Known World vividly recounts plantation life in nineteenth-century Virginia and impresses one with the cruelty of slavery. However, I found this book difficult to get through, especially the further along that I got. The nonlinear structure and the sense that The Known World was not so much of a novel as a collection of interconnected short stories became more and more apparent as I read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Unfortunately another book I didn't "get", despite the hype & the Pulitzer. Interesting subject and I don't doubt the author has a great mastery over the language, but overall, it felt like many lovely short stories strung together in a most confusing manner. Too many characters, too little linearity for my taste, randomly slipping into a magical realism (or was the whole thing magical realism??)... I must be dense but I didn't understand a lot of the characters or events (What's up with Alice, and what's up with Stamford?? Why does M feel that way about A? What the hell happened to C with that troupe he encountered?).My conclusion: I didn't get any reading pleasure out of it whatsoever.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Brilliant for making black nor white (pun intended) the victor, but for deeply exploring gray areas.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A pretty amazing book. I read it in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, and I would not have predicted it as a good choice for post-hurricane reading, but it turned out to be marvelous.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One of the best books I read last year. I never would have picked it up, if not for my book club, but I am really glad I did.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The subject is slavery (african-american) in 19th century Virginia. The main character, an African American slaveowner, dies in the first chapter. The rest of the book focuses on other characters (slaves, family, friends, neighbors) in the county before and after the death. Sometimes it appears that the author is going off track, such as when a minor character travels. Persevere, the track leads back! Good narration.read more
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my best frends mum just got a nearly new Mazda MAZDA3 Hatchback only from working part-time off a pc at home... go to this web-site >> T­­­­­­­i­­­­­­­m­­­­­­­e­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­J­­­­­­­o­­­­­­­b­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­3­­­­­­­4­­­­­­.c­­­­o­­­­m
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The measured cadence of the store indicts the institution of slavery ever worse than polemics could.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The story of the pecking order amongst slaves on a plantation and what happens when a slave becomes free and owns his own slaves. Interesting story about cruelty and compassion.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In my estimation, The Known World was worthy of the Pulitzer. Beautifully told. The points of view and conflicts about former slaves owning slaves were told in shades of gray. It was not preachy. It fully demonstrated the complexities of life situations. I would recommend it highly.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The usual: would I recommend it? Definitely, with no restrictions, except for those who want something extremely linear to follow as far as plot. This book weaves in and out of time so if you're put off by that sort of thing, then don't pick this one up.I loved this book!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Do yourself a huge favor and read it. I had no idea that there were black slaveholders before I bought this book. In fact, this premise is what drew my eye to the book ... long before it had won any awards or ended up on any bestseller list. I've had it sitting here since it first came out and I'm only mad at myself for not having read it sooner.I will begin my impressions of this book by starting at the end, where a man is in Washington DC in 1861, sees a line of people & gets in it because he's curious. When he reaches the object of his curiosity, he finds a tapesty an artist has done which he immediately knows is the plantation of Henry Townsend in Manchester County VA -- it moves him to describe it as "what God sees when He looks down on Manchester;" "a map of life made with every kind of art man has ever thought to represent himself." (384) It is, in fact, a recreation done of the place where the viewer grew up, every detail stunning in its perfection, down to the flowers on Henry Townsend's grave.It is Henry Townsend's death which begins the book; afterwards we come to know Henry through stories that capture him in his childhood as a slave on the Robbins Plantation, then as a freed man, and finally as the owner of his own home and land, complete with slaves. These are not told linearly, but go in and out of the story through different events and different times. As Henry's story is told, it is by necessity interwoven with the stories of the people in Manchester, including the slaves on Henry's farm, slave owners, poor whites, those who only see slaves as commodities from which to profit, and other freed blacks who own slaves who have secret aspirations & desires of becoming as powerful as the white people. Not only is the present examined for all of these people, but their pasts and their eventual fates are offered as well. No one in Manchester was left unaffected by slavery.The author's tone is very muted and understated; the prose is most excellent and really draws you to keep reading. The story itself is unique. The characters are alive & real and by the end of this book I had been so sucked in to the story I did not want it to end.I can't recommend it enough.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It is common for the bloggers on the Guardian website, which attracts far too many young capitalist Thatcherite wannabies for my liking, to sneer at literary prizes. It is fashionable among them to assume an intimate inside appreciation of, supposedly, cutting edge non-mainstream writing in some literary backwater such as sci-fi or graphic novels.-Whereas, I find literary accolades to be a super guide to selecting books by authors I have not heard of whilst trawling the shelves of charity bookshops for pearls at an affordable price of between one or two pounds. This book is very much a case in point. I had never heard of Edward P. Jones but could safely assume that the winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2005 Impac Award was not going to be on a par with Maeve Binchy or Jilly Cooper.-And so, I end up with a superb read. A novel to luxuriate in that tackles the subject of slavery in the Southern American states with an equal stature to Toni Morrison's Beloved. Plus, as an added bonus, a touch of my greatest love, post-modernism thrown in. One review I read disliked the self-referential real or fictional research notes but I found them a superb addition to the overall style of the book. This was one to read slowly and to enjoy.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Southwest Virginia (before the Civil War) comes alive through the family of Henry Townsend, a freed slave who comes to own slaves of his own. A complicated story of relationships between blacks and whites in a time of unrest.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This novel is about the rare slave owners of pre civil war America who were themselves black. While the concept of the book is highly unique, overall I wasn't thrilled with the style. However, the concept alone kept me at it and I enjoyed the tale. If nothing else it made me want to research this small tidbit of history to see if there is any validity to it. While the book was slow going due to time constraints I'm glad I stuck with it. The later half of the book improves on the first.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
When I read in the critiques of this book that the Boston Globe said that I would have "difficulty leaving [the book] on the last page", I was hopeful. I was indeed. One of the best books I have read in a long time. This book is so masterfully written... the authors ability to convey all sides of the characters blew me away. You see the bad behavior of some... then gain perspective when their character takes center stage later on. I came to know the characters and, as promised, I was loathe to leave the story behind. very, very highly recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It may be that I am not well read in this style of writing but I can honestly say that I never finished this book and the 1/2 I did read I had to read over many times until it started to make sense. I have no idea why this work won a Pulitzer it is complex for no reason and it leaves readers like me waiting for it to finally come to a point, which (for as far as I got) it never did.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Known World is the story of a black in the American pre-Civil War south. He gains his freedom, then acquires slaves of his own. The book is about his relationship to his slaves, and his relationship to the rest of the community. The book is difficult to read. It struck me as a collection of short stories glued together by a few common characters. The stories jump around in time, making it difficult to follow and the characters difficult to keep separate. There is no discernible plot in the book and each story is left to stand on its own. Edward's sentences tend to run on, making the book difficult to read on another level. I found the characters a bit flat. There were none that I felt any ties to. Generally, the stories are fairly nonviolent, but a few break that trend, some can be difficult to read. Some of the short stories are interesting and informative. The author works in historical information to tie the story to events we are familiar with. In spite of its having won a Pulitzer, it isn't one I can recommend. I didn't even finish this book, although I have strong urges to finish it just for completeness. Some people seem to get a lot out of the book, but I did not.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
For all the beautiful prose and the interesting setting, I found it almost impossible to stay interested in this novel.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A book worth reading. Jones will seem to wander off topic, but even if it seems tangential, you'll probably hear tell of it again. Each character, whether a brief cameo or a protagonist, is vividly sketched. Jones has a voice worth paying attention to. If you liked this book, try Lost in the City, his first short story collection, or All Aunt Hagar's Children, his second, both concerning black life in Washington, D.C., among other things.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Thought provoking story on slavery from an interesting angle: black slave owners. Beautifully written, although hard to follow at times.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
before i read this book i had no idea that freed black people in the south also owned slaves. it is a very well-written account of the complexities of freedom and identity in virginia before the civil war.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read this book with a book club. I had never heard of it. I loved it. It was easy to read. Many, many characters but the author made them all so individual I could remember who they were when they reappeared after a 100 page absence. Loved this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Well-written and engrossing story of free blacks owning slaves. A quiet, plodding sort-of book examining each character's view with the undertones of violence and injustice always beneath the surface. Enlightening in its portrayal of a slave's life -- I particularly liked the character of Elias. But personally, I was glad to finish the book -- it was almost like eating too much fudge. I'm going to nitpik about the author's references to the U. S. Census. (page 7) I realize the town or county of Manchester, VA is made-up for the purposes of the novel however the reference to the census: "included a...man who...according to the U. S. Census of 1860 legally owned his own wife...5 children...3 grandchildren". In 1860 no specific relationships to the head-of-household are stated in the enumeration (that doesn't begin until 1880) nor should the wife and others have been counted twice (both with the free man's household and with the slaves). If the wife and children were listed as servants (though the author doesn't say this) with the free man this would not in anyway indicate they were "owned" by the head-of-the-household. Also, being listed as servants would mean they were not slaves. In both the 1850 and 1860 censuses, slaves were listed separately on the slave schedules under the owner's name. They were identified as males or females and their ages were noted, nothing more (other than, of course, the county, post office district or township, and state they were in). It is one of the frustrating aspects of African-American genealogical research where one usually has to assume by the owner's last name and the age/sex of the slave that perhaps one is looking at one's ancestor. A worthy read but taxing.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Incredible book. A little like Gone with the Wind but with former slaves who become slave owners. The writing is riveting and a little mysticism thrown in makes this one of my favorite books read in 2008.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Unarguably one of the best books ever written.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I could not finish this book. The story line meandered, and I was losing track and interest with the twisted story line and characters. While I am a lover of antebellum stories set in the South, sadly, I couldn't get past the first 60 pages with this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
"I had almost forgotten where I was," Winifred said, meaning the South, meaning the world of human property. (p. 34)Set in a fictitious Virginia county around 1840, Edward Jones' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a story of slavery; specifically, the rare occurrence of slaves owned by free black people. The plot revolves around landowner Henry Townsend, his wife Caldonia, and the events following Henry's untimely death. The novel explores themes of prejudice, the ignorance and brutality of white men, and the potential for every slave to make their own way once free.Jones' narrative style is non-linear, branching off from events of 1840 to those in the distant past or future. Foreshadowing is frequently used to predict a character's success or failure, or the state of relationships: "Neither Robbins nor Colfax would know it for a very long time but that day was the high point of their friendship." (p. 39) This is used effectively, for example, to show how a child slave becomes a free and independent adult, while keeping the novel firmly set in a period of just a few years' time. And, while many of the characters lack depth, the women in this novel are amazingly strong, singlehandedly holding the community together.I found Jones' literary techniques interesting, and he successfully held my interest. However, I found myself unable to get inside the characters and this detracted from my enjoyment of this book. Not a bad read, but not the great read I'd expect from a Pulitzer winner.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A great view into the world of slavery, how humans were viewed as property, and how that view transcended, at times, the color boundary. A very good read, especially for those interested in that time period of American history.(Candice)
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The stories told in this novel are compelling; the premise of African-Americans is unique. However, the author's use of flashbacks and flash forwards can be distracting and confusing. The characters are well drawn and become like neighbors down the lane.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lyrical book, made up of interwoven, individual sagas concerning the black slaves of black slave owners in Virginia.The Known World is tinged with magic (like Toni Morrison's novels), and at the same time grounded in research. The prose has a mythic ring, probably because of the way the narrative leaps from story to story and uses physical details as small weights to anchor those stories.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I finished reading this book with mixed feelings. On one hand, The Known World vividly recounts plantation life in nineteenth-century Virginia and impresses one with the cruelty of slavery. However, I found this book difficult to get through, especially the further along that I got. The nonlinear structure and the sense that The Known World was not so much of a novel as a collection of interconnected short stories became more and more apparent as I read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Unfortunately another book I didn't "get", despite the hype & the Pulitzer. Interesting subject and I don't doubt the author has a great mastery over the language, but overall, it felt like many lovely short stories strung together in a most confusing manner. Too many characters, too little linearity for my taste, randomly slipping into a magical realism (or was the whole thing magical realism??)... I must be dense but I didn't understand a lot of the characters or events (What's up with Alice, and what's up with Stamford?? Why does M feel that way about A? What the hell happened to C with that troupe he encountered?).My conclusion: I didn't get any reading pleasure out of it whatsoever.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Brilliant for making black nor white (pun intended) the victor, but for deeply exploring gray areas.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A pretty amazing book. I read it in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, and I would not have predicted it as a good choice for post-hurricane reading, but it turned out to be marvelous.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One of the best books I read last year. I never would have picked it up, if not for my book club, but I am really glad I did.
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The subject is slavery (african-american) in 19th century Virginia. The main character, an African American slaveowner, dies in the first chapter. The rest of the book focuses on other characters (slaves, family, friends, neighbors) in the county before and after the death. Sometimes it appears that the author is going off track, such as when a minor character travels. Persevere, the track leads back! Good narration.
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