What We’re Reading

by Lynn Stansbury

Edward P. Jones: Lost in the City; All Aunt Hagar's Children. Stunning evocation of place, community, and time.

Lost in the City had been on my must-read-but-haven't-yet for a long time, so when I did read it, I ran out and tracked down a copy of his second collection of short stories, All Aunt Hagar's Children. The combination of an African/Biblical gift for language and rhythm and a Shakespearean gift for the insight and poetry of place makes his portrait of America through the lens of Washington, DC, in the second half of the 20th century irresistible. He can get sidelined as an "African American" writer, but this is about as useful as classifying Philip Roth as Jewish or William Faulkner as a Southerner from Mississippi. Yes, but.