by Edward P. Jones
I just finished this last night. I'm trying to read some of the award-winning books from the library (Pulitzers, National Book Awards, Man Bookers, etc.) and I'm keeping a list so I can create my own library more high school student friendly. With so many of my friends having high school students, I keep hearing how so many of the "great" books are awful, and that it is difficult to find the reading list books because the library's copies are always checked out. I decided to start my reading now and buy books that are more likely to end up on these reading lists AND that I feel are appropriate to read. That said, I just finished this one, and found it very interesting. It won the Pulitzer in 2004, and this is the author's 2nd novel. (His 1st, Lost in the City, was a National Book Award finalist).
The book is set in the slavery era in Virginia, but is about an aspect of slavery I was not aware of. Apparently, there were a number of free blacks that were slave owners in the south. Usually it was second generation freed slaves, whose parents had themselves been slaves and been freed or purchased their freedom. I did not know this happened and imagine it would cause some difficulties in the families. Anyway, it is written in a really cool way, telling a story, but weaving in what happens in the future to the different characters. I really enjoyed it. It supposedly paints a fairly realistic picture of slavery, which I appreciate. Most interesting were the interactions between the black and white slave owners, as well as the black slave owners relationships (often strained) with their parents.
I thought it was a good book. I added it to my "buy" list.