Review

All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories

by



Following the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Known World, Edward
P. Jones has expertly crafted a collection of fourteen short
stories titled All Aunt Hagar's Children. From the onset, this
masterpiece brilliantly weaves tales fit for man, woman and child
alike, although they are complex at times. Set in Washington, D.C.,
the book portrays the nation's capital as a place where you will
find solace through circumstances and events that may actually lead
to saving someone's life.


Although the time frames are varied, with the majority of
characters from the rural South trying to adjust to a new way of
life, the stories deliberately and almost insistently capture your
mind and spirit as you wander through their experiences, which
cover the entire 20th century.


From "In the Blink of God's Eye," a story based on a recently
married teenaged couple, to the man who has kept his infidelity a
secret for over 30 years, the collection intrigues, provokes
thought and provides insight into situations we all may encounter
sometime in our lives. Jones has a complete and systematic grasp of
the written language, delivering these stories with elegance,
sensitivity and an authenticity that will leave this book on the
shelves for years to come.


Its signature story, "All Aunt Hagar's Children," covers time and
space as a young man remembers a murdered friend from his
childhood. An ex-military policeman, he is determined to find his
way to Alaska, away from the madness of his old environment and a
former flame. At the insistence of his mom, aunt and the bereaved
son's mother, he sets out to find his friend's killer. The problem
though is that no one liked the victim in the first place. Facts
seem muddled and out of place, as he eventually realizes the most
important truth of all: when you're looking for something, the
answer is usually right in your face.


Another favorite in this collection is "Bad Neighbors," which
ultimately describes the type of neighbors we can do without. Or
can we? The main characters, Sharon Palmer and Neil Bennington, end
up being friends from school. As luck would have it, Neil is from
the wrong side of the street, with a seemingly crazy family to
boot. With his unruly brother Derrick, who the towns sees as
nothing but trouble, things can't get any worse. As they are put
out of their house and onto the street by their scheming parents,
it's no wonder the tables turn. A lesson learned: Do not judge a
book by its cover, and when you intentionally do wrong, you'll
receive it back ten-fold one way or another.


Edward P. Jones has done it again with this sure-to-be
classic.


   












Reviewed by Belinda Williams on December 22, 2010

All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories
by

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0060557575
  • ISBN-13: 9780060557577