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Lost in the City
Edward P. Jones
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1992

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Young and old struggle for spiritual survival against the often crushing obstacles of the inner city in these 14 moving stories of African American life in Washington, D.C. Traveling street by street through the nation's capital, Jones introduces a wide range of characters, each of whom has a distinct way of keeping the faith. Betsy Ann Morgan, 'The Girl Who Raised Pigeons',' finds inspiration in the birds she cares for on the roof of her apartment building. Middle-aged Vivian Slater leads a hymn-singing group in 'Gospel'. The narrator of 'The Store' labors to build up a neighborhood grocery; in 'His Mother's House', Joyce Moses collects photographs and cares for the expensive home her young son has bought her with his crack earnings. Depicting characters who strive to preserve fragile bonds of family and community in a violent, tragic world, Jones writes knowingly of their nontraditional ways of caring for one another and themselves. His insightful portraits of young people and frank, unsensationalized depictions of horrifying social ills made this a poignant and promising debut.


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.

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.


The Known World
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Literary epic about the painful and complex realities of slave life on a Southern plantation.

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.

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.

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
–› 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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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
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