I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
There is not much I feel I can add to the wonderful reviews about this novel previously posted on this site except to say that I too am disappointed
I think I understand why the Pulitzer Prize....the subject matter. But for me this is exactly why I'm so disappointed with this book. It could have been so rich. It could have included characters the reader/listener cared about. But because the story is told in flashbacks and flash forwards and long rambling tangents along with the plethora of characters who come and go, the reader/listener never has chance to become invested in any one of them. All of this makes following the story difficult. Another reviewer considered taking notes just to be able to keep up. I don't want to think myself shallow but I'm not a happy camper. I don't like listening to a book wishing it would end soon so I can start my next book. Not good.
I am not the only one (there are three of us who listened to this book) who found this too long and too confusing. The circuitous nature of the story, why did we keep coming back to Henry? The interesting historical references to anchor the ideas helped a bit.
I spent endless hours waiting for something for my interest to peak and it just never happened. I was really excited about this book and couldn't wait to hear it. However, it was so boring and uninteresting that I was left feeling cheated.
quite a wonderful journey - really makes the long commute to work a grand pleasure - you'll even turn the cell phone off!!
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
The Known World, Written by: Edward P. Jones. What would be if a black man in antebellum rural Virginia became a free man, and then acquired property and himself became a slave owner. Take it one step further, what if his wife becomes the plantation Lady and its manager? This is about good people becoming bad, bad people considering good and how humanity perverts itself because somewhere in our genetic makeup we esteem ourselves weather worthy of the reverence or not.
This book came into the known world and rocked literary foundations. One must admit its structural content is unique if not perplexing. The novel won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004. In 2005 it won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. One would think it was destined for an important demarcation in American literature. It has since fizzled.
Has that failure to become a point of reference in literature, an indication the book is without worth, notwithstanding its stupendous but blunderbuss genesis. Has its fading from popularity been deserved? True the nonnatives are de minimums; but there is a tale here that keeps the reader involved. Certainly, there are many occurrences between the book’s characters that evoke much inner emotions in the reader. Contrarily though, the story, perhaps, is just too beyond what readers today would consider as a true past happening. The story does not fit into our imaginations.
Nevertheless, this is a recommended read as it entertains, generates considerations about slavery and its supporting society and does evoke one’s emotions.
The book is a little difficult to read/listen if you're not experienced with following multiple independent story lines that intersect at various places. The author also had a tendency to give us too much then not enough. The people weren't described in detail, but he always gave us their insight. I think it would have been better as a series because there are so many stories it felt unfinished kind of like he wanted to be done writng it.
You all have GOT to read this novel it won the 2004 Pulitzer but I had not heard of it before. Great historical novel with deep character development it stays with you...
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
Some people had a hard time with this author jumping back and forth in time, linking up all the people. I did at first, thinking, Oh, gosh, now who is this? And what color are these people? And what relationship? There are long scenes in which you simply follow one character. When I found myself not paying enough attention, I just backed up or moved to a different activity for awhile. I have only listened once -- with several back-ups! I want to get the print book. I found Edward P. Jones through the recent marketing trick in which authors told about their own favorite authors. I sifted and took notes, and came out with paydirt like this! I am pursuing African-American authors for new personal reasons. I called the suicide hotline one night recently and a man answered. I told him, "I'm going through something absolutely outrageous and it reminds me of what black people have put up with for a long time and while I'm white, if you're black, I think you can really help me!" A man's soft voice answered, "I am black." I wanted to know how black people cope, how they get up in the morning and feel hopeful. How they deal in their own interior lives with hoo-rah and nonsense coming from unworthy people who nonetheless are in positions of power, people jerking us around in our immediate personal lives, little Nazis. The conversation we had was extremely helpful, freeing me to do the most healing and beneficial thing for myself because "we could come back in ten years and maybe nothing would have changed!" This seems to me at first like giving up. Then I realized I was going into tailspins trying to write letters and getting involved in situations not my own immediate business. Emotional energy is limited.So let's save it for the poetry, music, color.
Actually, this book inspires me to do some writing, myself. Mr. Jones has a wonderful writing style, telling what a character was thinking about, who did what, who said what, but not many adjectives or even adverbs. When shocking things happen, they simply happen. This makes them more shocking. I have not read Hemingway in a while, but Mr. Jones is spare like Hemingway. And yet he pulls together a rich and colorful "known world". I see patterns of intense jealousy when some people show tremendous talent as well as good work ethic. Still happening! Strong women and weak women. Hierarchies based on energy, intelligence, inspiration -- and color. Men and women praying for all they are worth. The woman weeping as she milks the wonderful cow. The bride who is given a slave girl for a wedding gift and never actually frees her, despite saying she is against slavery! The good white man who had blackouts and might have lived longer except for a bad tooth. The ordinary house with a stairs that didn't creak and the woman living there who always had a tablecloth -- that came from intelligence, industry and refinement. I relished the way a few people got away to fresh vistas and to un-dreamed-of joy and fulfillment.
I've sent for this author's two short story collections in print because I don't do so well listening to stories and I have a huge wish list anyway. I do hope this author is percolating another good book!
I found Kevin Free a perfect narrator for this book and many others -- I have him neck and neck with Humphrey Bower, another favorite. He can do Irish and white gentlemen and low-life truly evil good ol'boys and sweet black people and uninspired black people. The reading is seamless. You forget he's reading. Great clarity, no mispronunciations. I had to google his name . . . oooh, dimples too! Thank Heaven we live in a time when talent and industry can be recognized, enjoyed and rewarded.