Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “All Aunt Hagar's Children” as Want to Read:
All Aunt Hagar's Children
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

All Aunt Hagar's Children

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,351 ratings  ·  191 reviews
In fourteen sweeping and sublime stories, five of which have been published in The New Yorker, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World shows that his grasp of the human condition is firmer than ever

Returning to the city that inspired his first prizewinning book, Lost in the City, Jones has filled this new collection with people who call Washing
ebook, 416 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about All Aunt Hagar's Children, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about All Aunt Hagar's Children

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is an extraordinary collection of stories about African-Americans in and around Washington D.C. from the time of early migrations from the South to roughly the 1980s. I read some of the stories before they were collected, in The New Yorker; others when the book first came out, still others only more recently, so that in piecemeal fashion I've now read a few of the pieces in the collection three or four times. I mention this because, though I was a wildly enthusiastic fan of Jones's previous ...more
Really beautiful, carefully crafted stories about life in DC.

I liked The Known World a lot, but wasn't completely sold on Jones until this book. In All Aunt Hagar's Children, he weaves the fantastical together with the harsh realities of poverty, using rich prose and imagery.

Even if you are not a fan of short stories (or fiction for that matter), I would recommend trying this book. Jones is such a talented writer that I would find myself stuck on sentences and phrases unable to move on (like wh
Michelle Turner
I was really excited to read this book as All Aunt Hagar's Children was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones (The Known World). Although I liked the premise behind this book of short stories which deals with the African-American experience in Washington DC throughout historical time,regrettably I just couldn't get into it.

The first, In the Blink of God's Eye is about newlyweds, Ruth and Aubrey Patterson as the set about starting their new life in Washington. Shortly after their arri
Edward P. Jones was lionized with the publication of The Known World, but that book kind of left me cold. I couldn't understand what all the excitement was about, unless it was the novelty of a black man writing about a black man who owned black slaves in nineteenth century America. The writing was stiff and the story was not gripping or even very memorable. But I changed my opinion about this author when I read his short stories. This is where his real talent lies, in writing about ordinary fol ...more
His third work of fiction and second short story collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children is every bit as good as its predecessors. Like his first collection, Lost in the City, the stories here are set mostly in Washington, D.C. Some, like the excellent “Root Worker,” include southern starts or returns, even if just across the Potomac. They span a range of experiences and times from the late 19th century through to contemporary times. “Root Worker” tells the story of a smart, highly successful doct ...more
Roger DeBlanck
After winning the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award for his sweeping epic, The Known World, Edward P. Jones returns with a collection of fourteen blistering and mesmerizing stories in All Aunt Hagar’s Children. The settings for these stories range across Washington D.C. throughout the breadth of the 20th century. The stories are full of unsettling revelations that produce seismic occasions of adversity and change in the lives of a plethora of unforgettable characters who encount ...more
i gave 4 stars for lost in the city but i think that, when taken together, this + lost in the city would be included in my list of the best english-language writing from the past decade. [and you really should read both books together. the first story in lost in the city gets linked to the first story in all aunt hagar's children, the second with the second, and so on. there are also complex links between stories within an individual volume.] edward p. jones combines the economy of the short sto ...more
I am not a fan of short stories in general but this book was worse than I expected it might be. Almost every story had no ending, most contained adultery, and many contained violence. I usually like books in dialect but this was annoying with all the "whas" and dropped "g"s. Every page shouted "I'm black!" "I'm the black experience!" "I'm black and this is Washington D.C., and did I mention? I'm black!"
As far as the endings of the stories, the endings were so random that I felt like he just sto
I thought I was going to love this, having read and much enjoyed one of the stories already. But it is really, really spotty. Jones tells a story in a way that includes hordes of tertiary characters and sometimes spans many years. Sometimes this works, and sometimes this is a mess. About a quarter of the stories are seriously engrossing, about a quarter are 30 to 40 page slogs, and the rest are pretty mediocre. Talking to other folks who've read it, some agree with me in principle, but have oppo ...more
I finished reading All Aunt’s Hagar Children a few days ago and had to come back to write a little blurb about it because those stories are still lingering around me. Of course, as in any collection of stories, 3 or 4 make a bigger impact then the rest, however I was quite surprised of how even this selection is overall. Not a small task in a book with 14 stories.

Those are complex stories, with a multitude of secondary characters – neighbors, relatives, ancestors – showing up and furnishing the
The stories collected here offer a portrait of our nation's capital through the eyes and experiences of a varied group of African Americans who call it home. Jones offers up different types: doctors, retired civil servants, schoolchildren but also women-beaters, drug-users, and other ne'er-do-wells. He fleshes out the life of the city through the tales of these citizens creating a richly layered construction of reasonable verisimilitude, with a few dashes of the magical but for me something was ...more
I want to go ahead and review this so I can post it, even though I'm not done--and won't be for awhile.

I just don't like this collection of stories very much. I feel bad about this, because it has gotten rave reviews and won awards, but it just doesn't appeal to me.

I got through 5 and 1/2 of the 14 stories, and of those, the one I've only read half of is the one I liked the best (it was just so depressing that I didn't finish it). ALL of the stories have been depressing, and in most of them, I d
Michael Anson
I don't read too many collections of short stories, but Edward Jones, winner of the Pulitzer for his novel, "The Known World," is a master storyteller. Hagar is a biblical figure. She was the slave of Sarah who was married to Abraham, and Sarah thought she was too old to have children so she sent Hagar to Abraham, and they had a child named Ishmael. Later, Sarah did have a child named Isaac, who was supposed to be the one sent to make Abraham the father of all nations. Ishmael was banished to th ...more
Matthew Gallaway
This collection of stories deals with many of the same themes as Jones' other collection -- namely the African-American experience as it unfolds in and around Washington, D.C. I found the prose of this collection to be denser and infused with more symbolism (some biblical, as the title suggests) and at times, magical elements, in comparison to Lost in the City. I would definitely recommend it as much as Lost in the City, but I think it would be smart to read this one after you've been introduced ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Phillis rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Phillis by: No one
Edward P. Jones is a new author to me and I picked this audiobook up because I wanted a change of pace from mysteries. Short stories I thought would do the trick and I do enjoy Peter Francis James' voice. Well out of 13 disks I made it to the 9th before I got terribly bored. The first couple of stores held my attention but then they began to sound as it the short stories could have been just one long story. It seemed repetitious. Grant it they were different families, different make-up of the fa ...more
Jones has a way of making history a part of the present; these short stories are dense, and each story seems to tell many stories besides the one which is its focus. I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of getting across the feel of these stories: they each seem to have such a weight to them; all of his characters carry not only their present moments, but their pasts and their possible futures around with them, and Jones makes the reader feel this. For the most part, these stories are centered arou ...more
You might not hate this book, so give it a chance. I read about half of it in November or so, returned it to the library, and checked it out again because I don't like leaving things unfinished. Maybe if I was familiar with DC, the way the Jones describes the surroundings by saying things like "K street between 13th and 14th" or whatever instead of telling us "there's a gas station on the corner, and the rest of the block is row houses" wouldn't bother me so much because I'd already have a menta ...more
Edward P. Jones is an amazing writer. In a short space, he creates and shows us a universe. This book of 14 stories gets better and better (and I'm only on pg 149). That it is set in Washington, D.C. gives it a local interest. *** Just finished this morning. I admire how the last story Tapestry swings around to both the first story and the dedication to "to the multitudes who came up out of the South for something better, something different". But then there is much I admire in each of these sto ...more
Jones is very romantical and captures the warmth of community from early 1900's through recent-day D.C. I strongly prefer this collection over Lost in the City, because the stories that I didn't want to stop reading far outnumbered the ho-hums, while I feel the opposite is true for his first collection of short stories. There's a lot of love pouring from the author to the precious, flawed, dimensional black boys and girls in a city that knows and shapes them. My favorite stories were Rich Man, I ...more
I loved this book of short stories. Although there were fourteen stories, they were not cookie cutter stories. It definitely did not feel like you were reading the same story over and over as some short story compilations do. Not only were the main characters strong but the secondary characters were given meaningful roles also. A couple of these stories have stuck with me. I think this is the first of Jones' writing that I have tried and I will definitely try other of his works.
To read "All Aunt Hagar's Children" is to be reminded of the beauty that the English language can evoke when in the hands of a master. This collection of stories is luminous and heartfelt, with richly drawn characters who only want to do the best they can (even if some of them aren't exactly model citizens). The humanity in these stores is nothing short of honest and true and genuine, and rewards all readers with the breadth of the universes these stories contain.
I was less than impressed by the first three of the 14 stories in this book. But since it was on my 2015 reading challenge (all short story books), I continued in hopes that I would find a few stories I liked. And indeed I did.

All the stories have African American main characters and are connected to Washington D.C. I wish I had a better feel for the D.C. geography, as it probably would have made the stories even more live.

There's a darkness and sadness to most of these stories, more prominent
Michael Fischer
Devastating. Beautiful. Rich, dense, complex stories. Best read after "Lost in The City," since many of the characters introduced in Jones's first collection reappear, like a story-cycle sequel.
I tried. I tried really hard. I was assigned Jones' book for a graduate school class on short stories. If it were not required, I never would have finished it. As it is, I had to switch to the Audible version of the book because I could not stay interested in each short story. The Audible version couldn't even save me. Jones writes beautifully, but he creates a world full of characters who are rarely endearing and lack so much as an ounce of joy in life. Though there are a couple of humorous exc ...more
Jul 02, 2015 Christy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: Buried in Print
The fourteen stories in this book all revolve around African-Americans living in and around Washington D.C. The first story takes place in 1901 and the last story is set in the early 1930’s, but all the rest of the stories occupy an unspecified era between the end of World War II and maybe the 1980’s.

I live in the Washington D.C. area, but I’ve never lived in the District proper. Even so, the characters in Jones’ stories remind me of some people I know – from those who have been in D.C. for gene
This is Edward P. Jones' second book of short stories about black people (all Aunt Hagar's children) living in Washington, DC at various points during the 20th century. Although the 14 stories range over vast thematic territory (a crime fiction, a ghost story of sorts, and at least one appearance by Satan "Himself"), at the end I emerged from a coherent universe, due to the consistency of Jones' tone and style.

All three of Jones' books (Lost in the City and The Known World, before this) feature
Liked it, but not as much as The Known World.

February 2014 - Re-read for Busboys and Poets book group. I heard the author explain in an interview that these stores are a continuation, in a way, of the stories in Lost in the City. Each story is paired; the story in this book takes a character from the story in Lost in the City and tells us more. For example, Young Lions is about Caesar, Manny, Sherman, and Carol, and a scam Caesar pulls; Old Boys, Old Girls shows us Caesar years later, in prison
Theses stories are both beautiful and difficult. The prose is gorgeous throughout, but I often felt that I couldn't quite grab hold of the meaning of a story, especially at the end--but I don't necessarily find that to be a bad thing; I kind of like a lack of resolution. And the stories accumulate as you read, gathering effect, so the quiet, loose endings don't feel so much like endings at all.

Jones recreates a century, a place, and a society that is just about gone. As a resident of the DC are
"Despite all that has happened to you, you are, in the end, no better than all the rest of us who must fight to stay afloat. We want, we rage, we desire, we fail, we succeed. We stand in that long, long line. Where were you when they taught us that?"

This clip serves as as a pretty good thesis for this collection of short stories from Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer-claiming author of The Known World. The current running through these tales is that of African-American families living in or aspiring to
Jack Bullion
Whenever I start a new collection of short stories, I always flip to the front matter to see where each piece was originally published, and I'm always sort of dismayed when several of those stories haven't been published anywhere prior to their inclusion. Maybe this makes me a snob, but it's rare that such stories (which appear throughout Edward P. Jones' second collection) read like anything more than meandering, aimless, indulgent padding. While I understand Jones' impulse to provide a sweepin ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Poor Guatemalan Dreams of a Downtown in Peru 1 11 Mar 31, 2009 06:40PM  
  • A Taste of Honey: Stories
  • Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self
  • Blackberries, Blackberries
  • Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction
  • Gorilla, My Love
  • Hottentot Venus: A Novel
  • Black Girl in Paris
  • The Healing
  • Shifting Through Neutral
  • Chemistry and Other Stories
  • Natasha and Other Stories
  • Esther Stories
  • Third Girl from the Left
  • How to Escape from a Leper Colony
  • Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
  • Some Sing, Some Cry
  • Unburnable: A Novel
  • Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather
Edward P. Jones has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004, and his first collection of short stories, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was short-listed for the National Book Award. His most recent collection, All Aun ...more
More about Edward P. Jones...
The Known World Lost in the City New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2007 Black Boy The New Granta Book of the American Short Story

Share This Book