Joshua Daniel Cochran's Reviews > The Known World

The Known World by Edward P. Jones
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's review
Jul 13, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2012

I just got through this one... always read Pulitzer winners. And again, I wondered who the hell is on the committee to choose the Pulitzer? Do they acceept bribes? Sexual favors?

This book is all plot. If you're into that, fine. I did find the subject material fascinating... blacks owning slaves? Sure! But this book is a mess. The soap-opera aspect is its saving grace.

Besides there being no central character, there is also no theme to unify the soup of storytelling that goes on. Tangents follow tangents to dead ends, cul-de-sacs, and loops of narrative.

I would be fine with the book if 1) it didn't win the Pulitzer and 2) there wasn't so much grand stuff about it plastered all over the cover... even comparing Jones to Toni Morrison!

So here's the bottom line: a fine read if you don't mind the ride being the end-all to the book. It is the journey that succeeds in this book... Unfortunately, the destination doesn't enter into it.

The prose is some of the laziest writing I've ever seen. Besides the nauseating propensity of passive verb constructs, Mr. Jones also eschews proper pronound use, comma use, and the basic tenets of good writing. If this is his "style," then the style is that of an eighth-grader who dipped into some amphetatmines.

Read this if you found it for free on a park bench... otherwise, spend all that time on something better.

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