Oct 14, 2014

The Known World

by Edward P. Jones

This book at first intrigued me with its topic: a free black man who himself owned black slaves, in the years before the Civil War. It's a Pulitzer Prize winner and some of my family members have recommended it to me. So once again I'm disappointed in not liking, or being able to even read, the book. It introduces far too many characters right from the beginning, an intricate web of relationships throughout this imagined county in Virginia, which I'm sure is satisfying when you see how it all fits together but was difficult to get into. It jumps back and forth in time, doesn't settle on any one character to focus on, and is packed with facts that distract from the storyline. Sometimes each sentence is so crammed with detail it's difficult to figure out what the author meant to say. I got the impression he just wanted to show off his research. It does not make for easy reading. I couldn't get very far, no matter how high the accolades. And this was the third time I tried the book. It's not getting another chance, sorry. I have too many other things to read.

Abandoned        388 pages, 2003

more opinions:
Things Mean a Lot
Reading Reflections
Chamber Four
Vulpes Libris


bermudaonion said...

I tried to read that one years ago and couldn't finish it either.

Trish said...

I have this one on my shelf but keep forgetting about it. I'm reading Drood right now that seems a bit similar to what you describe here--so much factual stuff thrown in that it's hard to keep the actual storyline straight. Good for you for putting it down!

Jackie Bailey said...

I've owned a copy of this for ages, but never quite found the motivation to pick it up. Sorry to hear it is so dense. Hopefully I'll have better luck with it than you did.