The Known World by Edward P Jones


The Known World by Edward P Jones

An amazing novel. Profound and beautifully written. A novel that actually says something: stuff like this happens and it shouldn’t. People are like this, the world is such and such, there are these ideas and feelings, the world is creaking with them, and it doesn’t have to play out this way, but it did, it does, and it will again. “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. There are no real heroes or heroines in the populous world of this novel, nor are there unmitigated villains, though there are many who fail to live honourably despite the best intentions.” The Guardian is spot on. “The Known World is not an easy read, but it’s a powerful experience. Through all the furious conflagration there flows the ironic, sympathetic, distant voice of the narrator, a voice that understands the madness of slavery as part of a grander picture, one that begins with bright angels clanging closed the gates on our progenitors, and Satan, cast on to the burning plain, vowing ever “out of good still to find means of evil”. The Miltonic cosmos, in which human endeavour is a battlefield upon which outside forces exploit us to settle an ancient and extraterrestrial score, permeates the atmosphere of Manchester country, and those preoccupied with peace, order and justice will seek them in vain.”


Mr A



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