Customer Reviews for

All Aunt Hagar's Children

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 14 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A STELLAR READING

    Some things are well worth waiting for and Edward P. Jonses's follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize winning debut novel 'The Known World' (2003) is most assuredly one of them. Once again he uses short story formats to illuminate and make memorable his characters, ordinary people, really, but to the listener they are unforgettable. This author's evocation of black life in America is incomparable. Another stellar offering is the reading by voice performer Peter Francis James. He brings both strength and sympathetic understanding to the author's words. James has a host of television appearances to his credit, as well as Broadway and film roles. His delivery is unhesitating, distinct, and highly listenable. The 14 stories that comprise 'All Aunt Hagar's Children' are set in in Washington, the city where the author was raised and now lives. He opens with 'In The Blink of God's Eye,' the story of Ruth and Aubrey, a young couple in their late teens and recently married. Ruth does not always rest well in 'godforsaken Washington' while Aubrey 'always slept the sleep of a man not long out of boyhood.' One night when Ruth was wakeful she went out in back where she found a baby tied in a bundle hanging from a tree limb. Thus, she thought Washington was 'a city where they hung babies in night trees.' As is his wont Jones treats readers to the earlier lives of his characters, rendering them all the more accessible and sympathetic. This is especially true in 'Resurrecting Methuselah' in which we meet Anita Channing who sits by the bedside of Bethany, her ill daughter. She sits in a wooden chair built a century and a half ago by a former slave. Anita's husband, Percival, is serving in Okinawa, where he spends much time with a prostitute, Sara Lee. When Percival discovers he has breast cancer he calls Anita and asks her to come to him. She reaches Honolulu, a stopover in her flight, where she has an opportunity to look back on her childhood and wonder what the future holds for herself and her child. 'All Aunt Hagar's Children' concludes with 'Tapestry,' another story of a young couple, Anne and George, marrying and leaving their rural roots behind. George is a porter on a train, the train that carries them to Washington. As the train slows close to its destination Anne whispers, Mama, Papa, 'I'm a long way from home.' For this listener that was the gist of all of these marvelous stories, people seeking a better life a long way from home. Jones is such an incredibly gifted writer, his prose is succinct, true, impeccably crafted. Listening to his work is not only a pleasure but a privilege as well.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2007

    An Amazing Book

    I liked 'The Known World' a lot, but 'All Aunt Hagar's Children' is even more of an epiphany in terms of Mr. Jones's writing. This is definitely one of the great moments in contemporary American literature, both in terms of style and substance. For once, the work matches the hype. Mr. Jones is light years beyond most other highly praised authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    ENGROSSING, FORCEFUL, AND IMPECCABLY CRAFTED

    Some things are well worth waiting for and Edward P. Jonses's follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize winning debut novel 'The Known World' (2003) is most assuredly one of them. Once again he uses short story formats to illuminate and make memorable his characters, ordinary people, really, but to the reader they are unforgettable. This author's evocation of black life in America is incomparable. The 14 stories that comprise 'All Aunt Hagar's Children' are set in Washington, the city where Jones was raised and now lives. He opens with 'In The Blink of God's Eye,' the story of Ruth and Aubrey, a young couple in their late teens and recently married. Ruth does not always rest well in 'godforsaken Washington' while Aubrey 'always slept the sleep of a man not long out of boyhood.' One night when Ruth was wakeful she went out in back where she found a baby tied in a bundle hanging from a tree limb. Thus, she thought Washington was 'a city where they hung babies in night trees.' As is his wont Jones treats readers to the earlier lives of his characters, rendering them all the more accessible and sympathetic. This is especially true in 'Resurrecting Methuselah' in which we meet Anita Channing who sits by the bedside of Bethany, her ill daughter. She sits in a wooden chair built a century and a half ago by a former slave. Anita's husband, Percival, is serving in Okinawa, where he spends much time with a prostitute, Sara Lee. When Percival discovers he has breast cancer he calls Anita and asks her to come to him. She reaches Honolulu, a stopover in her flight, where she has an opportunity to look back on her childhood and wonder what the future holds for herself and her child. 'All Aunt Hagar's Children' concludes with 'Tapestry,' another story of a young couple, Anne and George, marrying and leaving their rural roots behind. George is a porter on a train, the train that carries them to Washington. As the train slows close to its destination Anne whispers, Mama, Papa, 'I'm a long way from home.' For this reader that was the gist of all of these marvelous stories, people seeking a better life a long way from home. Jones is such an incredibly gifted writer, his prose is succinct, true, impeccably crafted. Reading his work is not only a pleasure but a privilege as well. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Fl

    This book just doesn't come together. I loved The Known World and was dissapointed in this one.

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

    Touching

    This is artful tale-telling of fourteen different tales--all examining characters' actions and feelings as they seek relief from life's tribulations. The thread that connects these stories lie in the setting(Washington, D,C.),the time(1900's) and the characters' ethnicity. The title, surely, is a metaphorical reference to the Biblical character, Ishmael. Feeling stripped of a birthright, the characters seek new opportunities for which, unknown to themselves, they are ill-equipped to seize.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Short stories but I made an exception

    I don't normally purchase books of short stories; however, based on the author's novels, I did buy All Aunt Hagar's Children. I am so glad I did. It is a collection of mostly heart-rending tales of Southern, rural African Americans moved to urban Washington, D.C. Of course, their Southern lives follow them and then must mix with "progressive" D.C. If only more authors wrote as well as Edward P. Jones, I would read all day, all night.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I thought...

    This book is not at all what I was expecting. It is a collection of short stories and I am having a very difficult making it through the first story. hte author's writing style is a little confusing. MAybe it is just not the right time for me to read this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

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    Posted December 29, 2011

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    Posted January 3, 2010

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted January 29, 2009

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    Posted May 18, 2011

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 14 Customer Reviews
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