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 white 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.
"wonderful and highly recommended"
A finalist for the National Book Award, Lost in the City features 15 poignant short stories, each set in Washington, D.C. Far removed from marble monuments and the offices of rich politicians, the nation's capital that Jones captures is inhabited by self-willed African-Americans struggling to live their lives as best they can.
"CHAOS AND MORAL IDIOCY"
Edward P. Jones's first book, the story collection Lost in the City, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Marilynne Robinson made her literary debut in 1981 with the novel Housekeeping, which received a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Returning to the city that inspired his first prize-winning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washington, D.C., home. Yet it is not the city's power brokers that most concern him but rather its ordinary citizens.
"I JUST DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS!"
A lot can happen on the way from one place to another, especially when an overnight flight makes for an unexpected romantic encounter between strangers seated together; a trucker finds life beyond the ranch where he grew up; and a bored Midwestern housewife tries to escape Kansas City.
In 14 sublime stories, Edward P. Jones turns an unflinching eye to the ordinary citizens of Washington, DC: men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them in the city. With the legacy of slavery just a stone's throw behind them and the future uncertain, Jones' cornucopia of characters will haunt the reader for years to come.
"Storms Brewing", by Elizabeth Kolbert; “The Aquarium”, by Aleksandar Hemon; "Shacks", by Edward P. Jones; "Where I Learned to Read", by Salvatore Scibona; "Home", by George Saunders; and "Travelling Shows", by Anthony Lane.