All Aunt Hagar's Children

All Aunt Hagar's Children

by Edward P. Jones
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All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones

In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in The New Yorker, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World shows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever

Returning to the city that inspired his first prizewinning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washington, D.C., home. Yet it is not the city's power brokers that most concern him but rather its ordinary citizens. All Aunt Hagar's Children turns an unflinching eye to the men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them further north, people who in Jones's masterful hands, emerge as fully human and morally complex, whether they are country folk used to getting up with the chickens or people with centuries of education behind them.

In the title story, in which Jones employs the first-person rhythms of a classic detective story, a Korean War veteran investigates the death of a family friend whose sorry destiny seems inextricable from his mother's own violent Southern childhood. In "In the Blink of God's Eye" and "Tapestry" newly married couples leave behind the familiarity of rural life to pursue lives of urban promise only to be challenged and disappointed.

With the legacy of slavery just a stone's throw away and the future uncertain, Jones's cornucopia of characters will haunt readers for years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060557577
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 389,762
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Edward P. Jones, the New York Times bestselling author, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World; he also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004. His first collection of stories, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was short listed for the National Book Award. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award. He has been an instructor of fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C.

Date of Birth:

October 5, 1950

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., College of the Holy Cross, 1972; M.F.A., University of Virginia, 1981

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All Aunt Hagar's Children 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book just doesn't come together. I loved The Known World and was dissapointed in this one.
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SkyeEB More than 1 year ago
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.
LifeExamined More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
luv2readTX More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago