To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
You need to persist - there are so many characters that at the beginning it's really hard to know what's happening to whom and a list of characters would have helped a lot. Once all the introductions are over, and you get used to bouncing around in time, things settle down nicely. Rather gory in a couple of places but ultimately a good read.
I really liked this slow book about the life of a community in Virgina before the Civil War. I didn't know black people could own slaves back then. The story is tragically beautiful;it takes place on a plantation where the black owner dies. From then on, everything starts to go wrong on the plantation, and slaves keep disappearing.. The writing is astonishing : present and past are subtly intertwined to carry the plot until an inevitable conclusion. The characters are truly remarkable, and true to life.
Meine Rezension ist nur für Nicht-Native-Speaker interessant. Kurz zu mir: bin 44, hatte Englisch-LK in der Schule und lese 2-3 englische Bücher pro Jahr. Das Buch war für mich aus 2 Gründen anstrengend zu lesen: 1. Verwendete Sprache: Im ersten Drittel (gefühlt) des Buches kamen viele Redewendungen vor, die ich nicht kannte. Wahrscheinlich hat der Autor damit dem Milieu Rechnung getragen (19. Jhd., Schwarze Bevölkerung in den Südstaaten der USA). Teilweise wurden Wörter in einer Bedeutung genutzt, die im Wörterbuch erst an x-ter Stelle auftaucht und die mir ebenfalls nicht bekannt war. Das hat mich öfter verwirrt, weil ich zunächst von der mir bekannten Bedeutung ausging. 2. Rückblenden und Vorausblicke: In jedem Kapitel tauchen, häufig mitten im Absatz, Rückblenden und/oder Vorausblicke zu der Person auf, um die es gerade geht. Ich komme normalerweise mit den Zeiten gut zurecht, hin und wieder hab ich aber doch das entscheidende Verb überlesen und war erst mal verwirrt.
So ab der Hälfte hatte ich mich dann eingelesen und kam gut voran, im letzten Drittel hat es mich dann tatsächlich gefesselt.
Fazit: Ein interessantes Kaleidoskop von Personen und einer Gesellschaft, die mir bis dahin unbekannt war. Kein wirklich spannendes Buch - um seine Klasse zu erkennen, muss man sicher besser Englisch können als ich.
This is not a book that "grabs you" or "pulls you along"; it was tedious work to navigate the text, but part of that was due to its depth and the richness of its characters and setting. To give it a lower rating would be unfair, as my own personal difficulty reading it was perhaps a product of my current state as a reader: needing hooks/wittiness, rather than prepared to do the necessary work this book required.
Still, the work paid off--the injustices resonate more and more as the book continues on, and it's historicism lends it a gravity that does indeed matter. Most importantly, it is a reminder that history is not simple, and that people are not simple, and that far too often the world is not just.
I cannot say that the entire reading experience was enjoyable, but I am glad that I continued to the finish line.
This is a well written story about the slave experience in Virginia .The central plot is a classic "greek tragedy" in which a likeable character falls victim to some all too human weaknesses.There are several side stories that tie into the main plot in an easy and engaging manner.the harsh realities of slave existence is well delineated without excess violence or ultra-graphic description.There is an edge to this story that the author keeps pushing you with but never lets it get out of control.This is a thought provoking book not meant to be a "fun " read.
This is not an easy read on many levels. One: there are a boat load of characters and keeping them all straight is not easy; two: the subject matter is disturbing (slavery). Through the activities of some lovely humans and not so nice ones, this book educates about the layered world of slavery in Virginia before the Civil War. If we are not disturbed by the stories, we should be.
The Known World is a complex morality piece set in the Antebellum South in and around the mid 19th century. The story takes place in Manchester county, Virginia and primarily focuses on the slaves and slave owners lives all centered around the death of a prominent slave owner who is himself an African American.
The writing is rich and the content is heavy. As a reader you become immersed in the various points of view that shift through multiple characters and time periods. Jones is exceptional at making the feelings and atmosphere ooze of the page and his characters are complex yet realistic.
My favorite aspect of the novel is the complexity involved from a moral standpoint. You have black slave owners to white abolitionists whose welfare is dependent on slavery. Jones doesn't take the easy way out and there are no easy answers. Characters behave admirably in some situations abhorrently in others but always with purpose.
This novel is not an easy read and I wouldn't recommend it for light readers. After the first 30 pages, I had to start over, literally writing down notes about characters and lineage because it became too much to remember every time I put the book down.
Bottom Line: This book won the Pulitzer a few years back and it is a must read for people interested in the subject and historical fiction.