Catalogue


All Aunt Hagar's children /
Edward P. Jones.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Amistad, c2006.
description
x, 399 p.
ISBN
0060557567 (acid-free paper), 9780060557560 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
More Details
imprint
New York : Amistad, c2006.
isbn
0060557567 (acid-free paper)
9780060557560 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
5992282
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, USA, 2007 : Nominated
First Chapter
All Aunt Hagar's Children
Stories

Chapter One

In the Blink of God's Eye

That 1901 winter when the wife and her husband were still new to Washington, there came to the wife like a scent carried on the wind some word that wolves roamed the streets and roads of the city after sundown. The wife, Ruth Patterson, knew what wolves could do: she had an uncle who went to Alaska in 1895 to hunt for gold, an uncle who was devoured by wolves not long after he slept under his first Alaskan moon. Still, the night, even in godforsaken Washington, sometimes had that old song that could pull Ruth up and out of her bed, the way it did when she was a girl across the Potomac River in Virginia where all was safe and all was family. Her husband, Aubrey, always slept the sleep of a man not long out of boyhood and never woke. Hearing the song call her from her new bed in Washington, Ruth, ever mindful of the wolves, would take up their knife and pistol and kiss Aubrey's still-hairless face and descend to the porch. She was well past seventeen, and he was edging toward eighteen, a couple not even seven whole months married. The house—and its twin next door—was always quiet, for those city houses were populated mostly by country people used to going to bed with the chickens. On the porch, only a few paces from the corner of 3rd and L Streets, N.W., she would stare at the gaslight on the corner and smell the smoke from the hearth of someone's dying fire, listening to the song and remembering the world around Arlington, Virginia.

That night in late January she watched a drunken woman across 3rd Street make her way down 3rd to K Street, where she fell, silently, her dress settling down about her once her body had come to rest. The drunken woman was one more thing to hold against Washington. The woman might have been the same one from two weeks ago, the same one from five weeks ago. The woman lay there for a long time, and Ruth pulled her coat tight around her neck, wondering if she should venture out into the cold of no-man's-land to help her. Then the woman pulled herself up slowly on all four limbs and at last made her stumbling way down K toward 4th Street. She must know, Ruth thought, surely she must know about the wolves. Ruth pulled her eyes back to the gaslight, and as she did, she noticed for the first time the bundle suspended from the tree in the yard, hanging from the apple tree that hadn't borne fruit in more than ten years.

Ruth fell back a step, as if she had been struck. She raised the pistol in her right hand, but the hand refused to steady itself, and so she dropped the knife and held the pistol with both hands, waiting for something -terrible and canine to burst from the bundle. An invisible hand locked about her mouth and halted the cry she wanted to give the world. A wind came up and played with her coat, her nightgown, tapped her ankles and hands, then went over and nudged the bundle so that it moved an inch or so to the left, an inch or so to the right. The rope creaked with the brittleness of age. And then the wind came back and gave her breath again.

A kitten's whine rose feebly from the bundle, a cry of innocence she at first refused to believe. Blinking the tears from her eyes, she reached down and took up the knife with her left hand, holding both weapons out in front of her. She waited. What a friend that drunken woman could be now. She looked at the gaslight, and the dancing yellow spirit in the dirty glass box took her down the two steps and walked her out into the yard until she was two feet from the bundle. She poked it twice with the knife, and in response, like some reward, the bundle offered a short whine, a whine it took her a moment or two to recognize.

So this was Washington, she thought as she reached up on her tiptoes and cut the two pieces of rope that held the bundle to the tree's branch and unwrapped first one blanket and then another. So this was the Washington her Aubrey had brought her across the Potomac River to—a city where they hung babies in night trees.

When Aubrey Patterson was three years old, his father took the family to Kansas where some of the father's people were prospering. The sky goes all the way up to God napping on his throne, the father's brother had written from Kansas, and you can get much before he wakes up. The father borrowed money from family and friends for train tickets and a few new clothes, thinking, knowing, he would be able to pay them back with Kansas money before a year or so had gone by. Pay them all back, son, Aubrey's father said moments before he died, some twelve years after the family had boarded the train from Kansas and returned to Virginia with not much more to their names than bile. And with the clarity of a mind seeing death, his father, Miles, reeled off the names of all those he owed money to, commencing with the man to whom he owed the most.

Aubrey's two older sisters married not long after the family returned to Virginia and moved with their husbands to other farms in Arlington County. They—Miles, the mother, Essie, and Aubrey—lived mostly from hand to mouth, but they did not go without. Aubrey's sisters and their husbands were generous, and the three of them, in their little house on their little piece of land with a garden and chickens and two cows, were surrounded by country people just as generous who had known the family when they had had a brighter sun.

All Aunt Hagar's Children
Stories
. Copyright © by Edward P. Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-05-15:
Short fiction from National Book Award finalist Jones. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2006-06-19:
Following the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Known World (2003), Jones offers a complex, sometimes somber collection of 14 short stories, four of which have appeared in the New Yorker. As in his previous collection of short fiction, Lost in the City (1992), Jones centers his storytelling on his native Washington, D.C. Here, though, Jones broadens his chronological scope to encompass virtually the entire 20th century and a wide range of experiences and African-American perspectives, from a man who has kept the secret of his adultery for 45 years, to another whose most difficult task on leaving prison for murder is having dinner with his brother's family. Often, Jones presents characters who have been away from the South long enough to mourn the loss of values and connections they traded for the too-often failed promise of urban success, but he also portrays the nation's capital as a place of potential redemption, where small curses and small miracles intertwine, and where shifting communities and connections can literally save one's life. Each of its denizens comes through with his own particular ways and means for survival, often dependent on chance, and rendered with unsentimental sympathy and force: "Caesar flipped the quarter. The girl's heart paused. The man's heart paused. The coin reached its apex and then it fell." (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, May 2006
Publishers Weekly, June 2006
Booklist, July 2006
Los Angeles Times, August 2006
New York Times Book Review, August 2006
Washington Post, August 2006
Boston Globe, September 2006
Chicago Tribune, September 2006
San Francisco Chronicle, September 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
Edward P. Jones, a prodigy of the short story, returns to the form that first won him praise in this new collection of stories, All Aunt Hagar's Children. Here he turns an unflinching eye to the men, women, and children caught between the old ways of the South and the temptations that await them in the city, people who in Jones's masterful hands emerge as fully human and morally complex. With the legacy of slavery just a stone's throw behind them and the future uncertain, Jones's cornucopia of characters will haunt readers for years to come.
Long Description
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.
Table of Contents
In the blink of God's eyep. 1
Spanish in the morningp. 31
Resurrecting Methuselahp. 53
Old boys, old girlsp. 75
All Aunt Hagar's childrenp. 103
A poor Guatemalan dreams of a downtown in Perup. 133
Root workerp. 163
Common lawp. 203
Adam Robinson acquires grandparents and a little sisterp. 239
The devil swims across the Anacostia Riverp. 271
Blindsidedp. 293
A rich manp. 323
Bad neighborsp. 347
Tapestryp. 375
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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