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This book is rich in detail and imagery. It’s characters are artistically described. However, it was extremely difficult to follow the plot, to remember the race or relationship of the characters or to follow the plot. At the end, I was relived and disappointed that it did not come sooner
Although I appreciate Mr. Jones' efforts in his novel, "The Known World" I found the book to be disjointed and confusing. I felt he had too many characters and the lack of a linear storyline didn't help matters. One of my friends, with whom I have an on-line book club with, suggested that Mr. Jones could have done a series as opposed to a single novel. We were particularly interested in the female characters; perhaps focusing on a smaller group of people, such as Fern Elston and her students, would have been more interesting. I thought the story premise was excellent, but we never did learn why Henry bought slaves, after having been one himself, or what he thought about it. Mr. Jones is an excellent writer with vivid character portrayals, but much got lost in the translation. This novel could have been so much more and it wasn't.
Way too many characters, none of whom the author focuses on enough to make you care. I had to force myself to finish the book, and like so many other reviews have stated, there was really no plot, the timeline jumps forwards and backwards. This wasn't so much a story that builds upon itself and makes you look forward to the next page, but rather a montage of little events among the lives of several different people, that just doesn't add up to much of a story when all is said and done. The mental gymnastics required to keep track of all the characters involved made the book tedious.
I am not a great literary critic. I do read quite a bit, though. I was intrigued by the summary of the book - free black people owning slaves - and wanted to explore the story around that. But what a disappointment. I found the book difficult to follow and made several attempts to re start the book. All to no avail. I simply could NOT get into it. I didn't identify with the characters did not find them particularly like able. The writing style is heavy and thick and, I'd add confusing to follow. So I'm giving up on it after 200 pages - something I rarely do.
This was actually a good story. Very well written. At times, my book club members thought it was non-fiction and we tried to get more information on the areas and characters. It was simply not my topic of choice for a good read. I am aware that this history took place and this very well could have been a true story, I just don't like to read about it.
Too many characters, and wandering story lines. I couldn't get through it. My book club picked this, and only one or two people finished it. I wanted to like it, I tried, but it was too much work with little pay off from the characters and lacking story.