Edward P. Jones needs my review like Shakespeare needs my review. He is one of those literary luminaries whose work is timeless. Nobody can teach anyone to write like this. Either you have it, or you don’t. We are fortunate that he does.
This wasn’t a digital galley; it was a Christmas gift. That’s how much I like his writing. So I guess my purpose in reviewing someone this renowned is perhaps to draw attention to him for those that haven’t read his work yet.
I read this over the course of almost a month, short as it is, and I did it that way because it’s so painful. In this respect he is similar to Russell Banks: peerless, brilliant work that is also so sad that you just about have to sit down and cry when you finish. And because of this, I was glad to have a short story collection, because I could read a whole short story, put in the bookmark, then pick something else up for a little while to cheer myself up. Then when I was over it, I could pick it up and read another one a different day.
All the stories are set in Washington, DC, and all have to do with alienation and a sense of loss. I think the story I admire most is “His Mother’s House”, but all of them are strong.
The first book I read by this author was The Known World, which won the Pulitzer. Now I need to get a copy of All Aunt Hager’s Children.