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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.
"[A]n impressively researched, challenging novel debut....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....This will mean a great deal to a great many people. It should be a major prize contender, and it won't be forgotten."
"[Jones] write[s] about history not as if it were over and done with, but as if anything could happen in the chaos of the moment....Jones writes with a sense of narrative foreboding undercut by the erratic nature of events, and the result is a portrait of a society that is seemingly immutable but...tentative and fragile....THE KNOWN WORLD is an achievement of epic scope and architectural construction, which nonetheless reads like a string of folk tales...--tales told by a conjurer who distracts you so well that you never know what hit you."
John Vernon, New York Times Book Review, 08/31/2003
Jones, Edward P.
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