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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 heralds Jones as a new talent, a writer whose unaffected style is not only evocative and forceful but also filled with insight and poignancy.
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Edward P. Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award and recipient of the Lannan Foundation Grant, Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. His first book, Lost in the City was originally published by William Morrow in 1992 and shortlisted for the National Book Award. Mr. Jones was named a National Book Award finalist for a second time with the publication of his debut novel The Known World which subsequently won the prestigious 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.From Kirkus Reviews:
At once folksy and urbane, this debut collection of stories pulses with the lifeblood of the forgotten neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., where Jones's black people are less the victims of society than of fate and chance. What unites the multihued African-Americans here is their sense of loss, whether it's of a family member taken in casual violence, or of one's soul, lost to drugs or ambition. A parentless teenager in ``The Night Rhonda Ferguson Was Killed,'' a girl full of confidence and spunk, finds her world shattered by her best friend's senseless death. Similarly, a middle-class man, leading ``a civilized life'' in the city, is devastated when his 15-year- old daughter runs away from home, never to return (``A New Man''). A motherless girl fills the void in her life with pigeons, until they too die or abandon the dying neighborhood (``The Girl Who Raised Pigeons''). Jones's unsparing view encompasses the hustler of ``Young Lions,'' a petty crook who enlists his loving girlfriend in a cruel scam; the middle-aged mother in ``His Mother's House,'' who ignores the source of her drug-dealing son's beneficence; and the high-powered lawyer in the title piece, who anesthetizes herself from her past with cocaine and passionless sex. But there's struggle, uplift, and survival in adversity here as well. In ``The Store,'' an unambitious young man grumbles through menial jobs, until he ends up attending Georgetown, in spite of himself. A dignified divorced woman keeps her family together in ``An Orange Line Train to Ballston.'' And a grown-up brother and sister cope differently with their father, who has spent most of their lives in jail for murdering their mother (``The Sunday Following Mother's Day''). Jones unerringly captures the quiet stateliness of elderly women in a trio of stories, culminating in ``Marie,'' which is his most self-reflexive piece. A skillful, elegiac collection, with remarkably little sociology. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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