The Known World by Edward Jones

The Known World

Edward Jones

This is a complex book which challenges other more conventional books about slavery. A former slave becomes a slave owner himself, a situation I hadn't considered before and which forces you, along with the other characters in the novel to think about how people behave towards each other. It isn't an easy read but is hugely thought- provoking. It contains some wonderful descriptions and left me wanting to know more about the history of the times described.

Extract

He washed before he came the next evening, stood at the well and poured water over himself and scrubbed with his hands as Priscilla his wife watched, laughed.
'Just gonna get all that dirt over you again tomorrow.'
'You just hush up' Moses said. He dried himself with the shirt he had worn in the field and put it back on.
'Can't go up to the house and let Loretta see how you been slavin in that field all day.'
Because Moses was not a good husband to her or much of a father to their child, Priscilla thought it not at all impossible that Loretta might be why he was going to the house so much.

Parallels
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
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Violence
Explicit sexual content