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The Known World
Edward P. Jones
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2003



–› Excerpt

refered to by:
Beloved
Toni Morrison

[Sonny Boy]
Annejet van der Zijl


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Henry Townsend, a black farmer, boot maker, and former slave, becomes proprietor of his own plantation – as well as his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend household, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave 'speculators' sell free black people into slavery, and rumours of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.

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ON EDWARD P. JONES'S BOOKSHELF

FAULKNER
Absalom, Absalom!
William Faulkner, 1936
Narrated by Quentin Compson, the suicide in The Sound and the Fury, this is the tale of Thomas Sutpen, a poor White who dreams of founding a dynasty. His refusal to accept his wife's Negro blood initiates a bloody train of events to create a vision of doom of the American South.

The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner, 1929
The story of the dissolution of the once aristocratic Compson family told through the eyes of three of its members. In different ways they prove to be inadequate to their own family history, unable to deal with either the responsibility of the past or the imperatives of the present.

Sartoris
William Faulkner, 1929
Portrays the decay of the Mississippi aristocracy following the social upheaval of the Civil War. This is the first of the 'Yoknapatawpha County' novels.

BOOKS BY EDWARD P. JONES:

The Known World
2003
–› Excerpt

Literary epic about the painful and complex realities of slave life on a Southern plantation.
WHAT TO READ AFTER THE KNOWN WORLD

(DEEP) SOUTH
Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison, 1977
This is the story of Macon 'Milkman' Dead, heir to the richest black family in a Midwestern town, as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spiritually. Through the enlightenment of one man, the novel recapitulates the history of slavery and liberation.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain, 1884-1885
The story of Huck and his companion Jim, a runaway slave, as they travel down the Mississippi to escape from slavery and "sivilization".

A Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole, 1980
A monument to sloth, rant and contempt, and suspicious of anything modern – this is Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, crusader against dunces. In revolt against the 20th century, Ignatius propels his bulk among the flesh-pots of a fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his mother decrees that Ignatius must work.

SLAVERY, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Beloved
Toni Morrison, 1987
Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is haunted persistently by the ghost of the dead baby girl whom she sacrificed to save her from slavery.

UNCONVENTIONAL STORYTELLERS
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez, 1967
In the book which put South America on the literary map, Marquez tells the story of an imaginary community in which the political, personal and spiritual worlds interwine.

As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner, 1930
The members of a Southern family contribute their individual tribulations to this encompassing impression of rural poverty.

World's End
T.C. Boyle, 1987
Darkly comic historical drama exploring several generations of families in the Hudson River Valley.

Lost in the City
1992
–› Excerpt

Set in the nation's capital, a collection of stories about African Americans living in Washington, D.C., introduces characters who struggle daily with loss –- of family, of friends, of memories, and of themselves.
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