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Extended Audio Sample The Known World, by Edward P. Jones Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (18,030 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward P. Jones Narrator: Kevin R. Free Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, The Known World is a daring and ambitious work by Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones.

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can’t uphold the estate’s order, and chaos ensues. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Extraordinary…The best new work of American fiction to cross my desk in years.”

    Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

  • “Exceptional…An achievement of epic scope and architectural construction.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Magnificent…Deeply felt and exquisitely executed, it seems destined for a permanent spot on the…shelf of great American novels about slavery, next to Toni Morrison’s Beloved and William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!.”

    Boston Globe

  • “One of those rare works of fiction that both wound and heal.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Jones has written a book of tremendous moral intricacy.”

    The New Yorker

  • Winner of the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Winner of the2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2003 New York Times Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Winner of the 2004 Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize for Fiction
  • A National Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michaela | 2/14/2014

    " Similar to Pope Joan, I think I originally read this years ago. Still an amazingly rendered tale. The author has a unique style of writing and, I suspect, a fair amount of research into this period of time (slavery) as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nanny | 2/11/2014

    " It was a good book on the history of slavery but the style of writing was confusing and frustrating at times. It took me 100 pages to really get into it. The author introduces so many characters that I had to keep checking the back of the book on who was who. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lghamilton | 2/1/2014

    " World War I battles on Lake Tanganyika? Who knew? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Scott | 2/1/2014

    " What an amazing book! This is the story about a free black family in pre-civil war Virginia who own slaves themselves. At first it took me a while to get used to the author's rambling writing style but soon I came to realize the this novel is not just about the Townsend family and their slaves but also it's about the times that they lived and all the people who touched their lives. The known world is the world that they all inhabit and it's all that they know. Notions of right and wrong and proper form in this crucible of slavery in Antebellum Virginia. They own slaves because that's just what people of means do. A fascinating and moving story of slavery and transendance. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prise for Fiction in 2004. Highly recommended! "

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