The Known World (NPR)
There is a great deal of pressure when one has a degree in English. People have high expectations for your vocabulary knowledge and your application of grammar rules. Unfortunately, my mother moved around a great deal when I was younger. Sometimes I was placed in decent schools, other times my mother had to supplement my education with library books. Not that any of this should be considered a good excuse, but damn. Even when I edit, there are some errors that I may not be aware of. Does that mean that I’m any less intelligent or worthy of my degree? I believe that sometimes, other English majors–or folks who received a quality education where/whenever–assume, oh she doesn’t know what a blah, blah, blah phrase is or she doesn’t even know how to use a blah, blah, blah correctly, so she must not no much. Well, the fact of the matter is…I’m still learning. We all are. And that’s okay, right? All that to say…pardon my typos English authorities. I’m just on here talking about books and having fun. And no, nobody sent me an email commenting on my errors. I’m just talking.
Now, on to the real reason why I came here today. I’m on page 4 of The Known World and will probably remain there for quite a few days. Well, you know I have to keep my little site updated–for my 3 biggest fans! Oh yeah, and you too…whoever you are. If you’re interested in learning a little more about what I’m reading, check out the preceding post. Also, be sure to stay tuned for the next post, which should be an interview with the author (not a personal interview–I’m not that large).
Being a writer is sort of way out there. It’s over there someplace. So I came to it late and even now, I mean, you write one day—you take a week and you write a good story perhaps. And then you get up the next Monday, and all the effort and knowledge that went into writing that first story—you can’t transfer it over to the second story. You are always starting at the bottom again. So it’s—a nasty job. It’s a nasty job. – Edward P. Jones
‘The Known World’
Novel Offers a New Look at the Nature of Slavery
October 28, 2003
Prior to the Civil War, some free black people owned slaves. Author Edward P. Jones picked up on that little-known fact and has written a vivid first novel that looks at slavery through a different lens. On Morning Edition, hear an interview with Jones and a review of The Known World.
“A sprawling story built around a morally bankrupt social institution,” The Known Worldis “a meditation on entrenched evil,” reports Martha Woodroof, of member station WMRA.
Jones collected two shelves of books about slavery, but never got around to reading them. Still, the author was able to use his imagination, and stories he had heard growing up, to make his characters come alive. “I decided the people I’d created were real enough and I had just accumulated enough information about what the world was like in the South before 1865 to allow me to lie and get away with it,” he says.
Jones’ novel has won critical acclaim for its unique and imaginative nature and is a finalist for this year’s National Book Awards. In a review for Morning Edition, Price Cobbs says The Known World “plausibly evokes how slavery made victims of both blacks and whites and still haunts the historical memory of America.”