All Aunt Hagar's Children (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Even more so than most cities, Washington, D.C., is a place where different levels of society seem to exist in wholly different worlds. The Washington that fills the headlines, the arena of government and power, has drawn its share of perceptive fictional portrayals within the nation’s literature. The city’s African American inhabitants, however, despite making up the majority of its population, until now have remained almost invisible to American literature.
That lack is now being remedied, due to the work of a hitherto little-known but gifted writer. Edward P. Jones published an earlier book of fourteen short stories, Lost in the City, in 1992. Like All Aunt Hagar’s Children, its stories are mostly set in “the District” as the region’s inhabitants say. The connections between its stories and those in the present volume, although sometimes subtle, go beyond setting. In 2002, his novel of a black slaveholder in the antebellum South, The Known World, appeared. It won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Now, in All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Jones returns to twentieth century Washington with another fourteen stories, marked by the careful craftsmanship and the convolution of fate and consequences in the city’s residents’ lives.
This is a community whereat least in Jones’s storiesfamily members disappear for years at alarming rates, where bizarre deaths are commemorated by becoming...
(The entire section is 1768 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
The Atlantic Monthly 298, no. 4 (November, 2006): 125.
Black Issues Book Review 8, no. 5 (September/October, 2006): 44.
Booklist 102, no. 21 (July 1, 2006): 7.
Crisis 113, no. 5 (September/October, 2006): 45.
Essence 37, no. 6 (October, 2006): 102.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 13 (July 1, 2006): 650.
The New York Times 155 (August 31, 2006): E1-E4.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (August 27, 2006): 12-13.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 25 (June 19, 2006): 37.
(The entire section is 45 words.)