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Edward P. Jones

The Known World

Edward P. Jones The Known World
$17.46 New
$2.97 Pre-owned
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Main description:

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation -- as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave "speculators" sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.

An ambitious, luminously written novel that ranges seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians -- and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.

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“’The Known World’ is a great novel, one that may eventually be placed with the best of American Literature.”

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“[A] powerful, multigenerational saga.”

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“A grand and inspired work of historical fiction. . .[It] deserves every word of praise that comes its way.”

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“A major achievement.”

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“A masterpiece that deserves a place in the American literary canon.”

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“A profoundly beautiful and insightful look at American slavery and human nature.”

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“A strong, intricate, daring book by a writer of deep compassion and uncommon gifts.”

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“A stunning debut novel.”

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“An incredible saga.”

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“Astonishingly rich. . .The particulars and consequences of the ‘right’ of humans to own other humans are dramatized with unprecedented ingenuity and intensity, in a harrowing tale that scarcely ever raises its voice. . . . It should be a major prize contender.”

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“Beautifully written . . .[it] ought to enjoy the massive readership that Charles Frazier’s runaway hit, Cold Mountain did.”

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“Breathtaking....A fascinating counterweight to Toni Morrison’s Beloved....It is essential reading.”

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“Brilliant....Glorious....[The Known World] belongs on the shelf with other classics of slavery, like Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.”

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“Brilliant...Jones’ novel movingly evokes one small landscape of a larger map that so stubbornly yields up its truths today”

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“Complex, beautifully written, and breathtaking...the book will knock the wind out of you with the depth of its compassion.”

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“Destined for a permanent spot on the...shelf of great American novels about slavery, next to Morrison...and Faulkner.”

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“Extraordinary.....Nothing...quite prepares readers for the imaginative leaps and technical prowess of ‘The Known World.’”

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“Fascinating . . .There is grief and fear, genuine affection an envy in this complex and fine novel.”

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“Fascinating...poignant....[A] complex and fine novel.”

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“Heartbreaking....fascinating.”

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“” An exemplar of historical fiction. . . [it] will subdue your preconceptions, enrich your perceptions and trouble your sleep.. . .The way Jones tells this story. . .recalls Cormac McCarthy, William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”


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