From the Publisher:
Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost
and an unusual mentor William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave "speculators" sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.
An ambitious, luminously written novel that ranges seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.
About the Author:
Edward P. Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award and recipient of the Lannan Foundation Grant, Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. His first book, Lost in the City was originally published by William Morrow in 1992 and shortlisted for the National Book Award. Mr. Jones was named a National Book Award finalist for a second time with the publication of his debut novel The KnownWorld (Amistad 2003). He lives in Arlington, Virginia.