Monday, June 8, 2009

By the Chapter - The Known World

By the Chapter is a weekly event hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This week, the book up for discussion is The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

Synopsis from publisher:

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation -- as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave "speculators" sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years. An ambitious, luminously written novel that ranges seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians -- and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.

I had originally intended to participate in this week's discussion, but struggled mightily to make my way through the novel. Since we have a third host joining us this week, I will be relinquishing my hosting duties to her - I have a feeling the discussion will be more productive. This week's reading schedule will look like this:

Monday - Marcia at The Printed Page
Wednesday - Judy at Intergalactic Bookworm
Friday - Marcia at The Printed Page and Judy at Intergalactic Bookworm

Stop on by and join in the conversation - I know I can't wait to see what they have to say about this one!


Marcia said...

This is a missed opportunity by the author. I know our book next month will be better. I hope you found something better to read for the week.

Zibilee said...

I have this on my shelf, but as usual, haven't read it yet. Your summary makes me realize again why I picked it up so long ago.