Cover image for All Aunt Hagar's children
Title:
All Aunt Hagar's children
ISBN:
9780792745181
Publication Information:
North Kingstown, RI : BBC Audiobooks America, p2006.
Physical Description:
12 sound discs (ca. 15 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Complete & unabridged.
Contents:
In the blink of god's eye -- Spanish in the morning -- Resurrecting Methuselah -- Old boys, old girls -- All Aunt Hagar's children -- A poor Guatemalan dreams of a downtown in Peru -- Root worker -- Common law -- Adam Robinson acquires grandparents and a little sister -- The devil swims across the Anacostia River -- Blindsided -- A rich man -- Bad neighbors -- Tapestry.
Genre:
Added Author:
Summary:
"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"--Provided by the publisher.
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Summary

Summary

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, DC, home. Yet it s not the city s movers and shakers 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 in the city, people who in Jones masterful hands, emerge as fully human and morally complex. "


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

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


Kirkus Review

The punishing legacy of poverty, crime and racism spans several generations, in the Hemingway Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author's long-awaited second collection. Wielding with enviable precision the elegant, plain style that so distinguished his earlier stories (gathered as Lost in the City, 1992) and single novel (The Known World, 2003), Jones probes deeply the wounded yet often resilient psyches of an imposing gallery of vivid, varied characters. A convicted murderer released from prison after 20 years finds unapproachable the family he had disappointed and betrayed, but makes himself of use by tenderly preparing the body of a former acquaintance for burial ("Old Boys, Old Girls"). A young girl raised among a family blighted by alcoholism and lawlessness glimpses a hopeful future in the promise of a school that accepts, nurtures and challenges her ("Spanish in the Morning"). A retired army officer cannot control his lifelong appetite for younger women and fast living and becomes--in a way he had not foreseen--"A Rich Man." Elsewhere, one woman meets the Devil in a Safeway supermarket, another is struck blind while riding a bus--and their ordeals redefine them, stunningly. A "blessed one" who mysteriously survives catastrophes that claim numerous less-fortunate souls reaches a hard-won maturity, and eventually comprehends the nature of her "gift" and the obligations she must accept ("A Poor Guatemalan Dreams of a Downtown in Peru"). Like Alice Munro's, Jones's stories exfoliate unpredictably, embracing multiple characters and interconnected histories and destinies. In "Common Law," domestic violence infects and transforms a peaceful neighborhood. In the brooding title story, a Korean War vet's murder investigation proves that "Blood spilled with violence never goes away." And in the magnificent "Root Worker," a woman doctor learns from an aged "voodoo woman" that we are often helplessly and unknowingly the cause of our own--and our loved ones'--pain. Jones's engrossing, exquisitely crafted and unforgettable stories offer images of the African-American experience that are unparalleled in American fiction. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

In 14 short stories, Jones, author of the acclaimed novel The Known World 0 (2003), demonstrates his skill at drawing complex and nuanced characters and predicaments. Washington, D.C., is the setting for this collection of stories in assorted time frames with assorted characters, most of whom come from the rural South, and all of whom are coping with the transformation of their lives and their adjustments to a new way of life. A young husband and wife, Aubrey and Ruth, are confounded by the faster pace of a city where babies are abandoned and love cools. A young man, anticipating his last days in D.C. as he dreams of a new life in Alaska (a novel place for a black man), is captivated by a murder investigation he reluctantly agrees to do for a family friend and the last words of an old white woman. He cradled the woman in his arms after she was struck by a streetcar and heard her dying words, spoken in Yiddish, words that haunt him--and threaten his future plans--although he doesn't understand them. Arlene is cursed by her uncanny survival of a lifelong series of tragedies that has taken those around her since childhood. Her sadness and loneliness are briefly broken as she meets kindred spirits in a young girl and a Guatemalan woman. Jones' stories are rich in detail and emotions as he plumbs the intricacies of people's relationships with one another and with spiritual forces at work in urban as well as natural environments. Readers who enjoyed The Known World0 will relish these varied gems of Jones' talent for storytelling. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2006 Booklist


Library Journal Review

This collection of 14 short stories follows Jones's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Known World as an illustration of black life in America. His stories span the 20th century in Washington, DC. Jones's Washington is not as much the center of international power as a place offering hope for rural descendants of slaves. Several characters have made it to the middle class, often through government employment, but economic success doesn't exempt one from suffering, a lesson Horace, an aging womanizer in "A Rich Man," learns as he seeks ever younger prey. The retired Pentagon employee is thrilled by his success until a misjudgment results in the trashing of his treasured record collection. "In the Blink of God's Eye" features newlyweds Ruth and Aubrey Patterson, who leave rural Virginia looking for a better life. But the dislocation is hard on Ruth, so when she finds an abandoned baby in a tree, she feels even more bewildered by her new surroundings. Of particular interest is Jones's treatment of the spiritual influence on the characters' lives. The author, a gifted storyteller, draws his characters with rich detail, capturing the intricacies of human interaction. Peter Francis James narrates in a clear, rich bass, re-creating dialects in a convincing way. Strongly recommended for large public libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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