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A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with these powerful tales of ordinary people who live in the shadows in this metropolis of great monuments and rich history. Lost in the City received the Pen/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction and was a National Book Award Finalist. This beautiful 20th Anniversary Edition features a new introduction by the author, and is a wonderful companion piece to Jones’s masterful novel and his second acclaimed collection of stories, All Aunt Hagar’s Children.


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A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with A magnificent collection of short fiction focusing on the lives of African-American men and women in Washington, D.C., Lost in the City is the book that first brought author Edward P. Jones to national attention. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and numerous other honors for his novel The Known World, Jones made his literary debut with these powerful tales of ordinary people who live in the shadows in this metropolis of great monuments and rich history. Lost in the City received the Pen/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction and was a National Book Award Finalist. This beautiful 20th Anniversary Edition features a new introduction by the author, and is a wonderful companion piece to Jones’s masterful novel and his second acclaimed collection of stories, All Aunt Hagar’s Children.

30 review for Lost in the City

  1. 5 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    Tryin To Get To You by The Eagles (1950s R&B group from Washington, D. C.) Coming-up on year 6 of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent I'm a late-comer to Edward P. Jones. I missed all the hype over The Known World, but when I did realize there was this idosyntric author from my hometown that wrote books--I kept my eyes open and got both of his short-story books. This review is of his 1st book of short stories that was published when I was two years old. Though pub Tryin To Get To You by The Eagles (1950s R&B group from Washington, D. C.) Coming-up on year 6 of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent I'm a late-comer to Edward P. Jones. I missed all the hype over The Known World, but when I did realize there was this idosyntric author from my hometown that wrote books--I kept my eyes open and got both of his short-story books. This review is of his 1st book of short stories that was published when I was two years old. Though published in the early 1990s it is about the world of "Chocolate City" from the 1950s to the late 1980s. It is a look at a world that no longer existed by the time I came along and which is being erased from the very landscape of D. C. as we speak. Rock Creek Park by The Blackbyrds The format of these short stories are interesting. It is no surprise that Dubliners is a big inspiration, with the use of Washington D. C. itself and the thematic device of each story following a person from a progressively older age group as the book progresses. Where Jones breaks from Joyce is that as the main character(s) in each story ages, time itself moves along as well so we see how the city ages with the generations of African-Americans living in it. As the beginning of this book takes place in the 1950s 60% of the adults are further from down South (I should note though that as Washington is a southern city, it has always had African-Americans living in it. That being said, a lot of families--including my own--made there way up during The Great Migration). As the book progresses-on that number is cut in half and by the last story only the very old are non-native born Washingtonians. It is fascinating seeing how these different groups of people relate to each other. Another way this book differs from Dubliners is that unlike with Joyce, there is no unifying theme that connects each story together. In this way, the stories of Lost in the City owe more to Anton Chekhov than anybody else. We simply drop-in to random peoples' lives and see what they are doing. There is no real beginning or ending, but we learn a little something of the people and environment we are in at the time. It is interesting that only one of these stories is actually autobiographical. Though it is easy to see these images playing-out with countless anonymous people in this city. It Don't Mean a Thing - If It Don't Have the Go Go Swing by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers. The anthem of DC/Maryland/Virginia as long as I've been alive, performed by it's late-"first citizen." Reading this book has been a very personal experience for me. The world of this book was the world experienced by grandparents and my late-father. I thought much of his father who died when I was seven and the world that I saw when I was with him. Even in my early childhood, this DC was disappearing, but enough of it was still around that I could still make-out certain places I remember from my adventures with my father's father. Of course, both of them are gone and my grandparents generation is just about all gone as well. Many of the structures have been demolished by neo-imperialist gentrifiers and the hack-politicians that they control. I remember seeing with my own eyes the destruction of this pre-Gogo music, pre-Reagan-era DC. It is interesting to think that 2/3rds of this book takes place before the advent of Go-Go music--something that I literally can't imagine that area without (though gentrification is even threatening this institution unfortunately). It was good to be transported to this time. to think about the earliest points of my own life and wonder how life was for though old folks I met in the 1990s when they were younger. "She did nothing, aside from following him, with her eyes, with her heart, as far as she could."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I can't figure out how these short stories have such fully developed characters. In my imagination, Jones wrote 14 full-length novels, then choose one chapter from each novel for inclusion in this collection. Or in some cases just culled the novel down to its most essential 20 pages. Because I feel as if another fascinating 250 pages exists for each of these stories. There, in between the lines, Jones exposes glimpses of the history and future of each character. I would very much like to read al I can't figure out how these short stories have such fully developed characters. In my imagination, Jones wrote 14 full-length novels, then choose one chapter from each novel for inclusion in this collection. Or in some cases just culled the novel down to its most essential 20 pages. Because I feel as if another fascinating 250 pages exists for each of these stories. There, in between the lines, Jones exposes glimpses of the history and future of each character. I would very much like to read all 14 of these novels - if only they existed!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Rubin

    A thought-provoking collection of short stories—I've found myself reflecting back on several of them. Really creates a sense of place. A thought-provoking collection of short stories—I've found myself reflecting back on several of them. Really creates a sense of place.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    This is a well-written collection, comprised of 14 stories about the lives of African-American characters living in Washington, D.C. I read it in large part because several years ago I was extremely impressed with Jones’s novel, The Known World. This was the author’s first book and though imperfect, it also shows a strong literary style. These stories follow the lives of ordinary people, though there is a pervasive sense of loss, and domestic violence and tragedy are common occurrences. Though th This is a well-written collection, comprised of 14 stories about the lives of African-American characters living in Washington, D.C. I read it in large part because several years ago I was extremely impressed with Jones’s novel, The Known World. This was the author’s first book and though imperfect, it also shows a strong literary style. These stories follow the lives of ordinary people, though there is a pervasive sense of loss, and domestic violence and tragedy are common occurrences. Though the stories aren’t specifically about growing up, they are arranged roughly according to the age of the protagonist. The first story, “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons,” is about a child in a dying neighborhood who keeps a pigeon coop on the roof. A little further on are “Young Lions” and “The Store,” two stories about young men (exceptions in a collection featuring mostly female protagonists) – each of whom finds identity and purpose in his work, one as a thug and the other as a store manager. Passing the halfway point, we get “His Mother’s House,” in which a woman gradually becomes complicit in her son’s drug business. And we end with “Marie,” a story about an 86-year-old woman dealing with bureaucracy, the death of an acquaintance and her own memories. Occasionally characters recur – secondary characters from “The Night Rhonda Ferguson was Killed” appear in at least three other tales – but for the most part the stories are self-contained. The structures are fairly traditional, with all but two stories told in the third person, mostly in chronological order, and with few surprises. Jones does not rely on suspense or plot twists to keep readers’ attention, but rather on believable characters, good writing and attention to detail. My reservation about this collection is that the endings are poor. Unlike a novel, in which the journey is more important than the destination, it’s my opinion that a short story’s power depends on its ending. Several of these stories are slices of life: they feature situations – interesting situations that are worth writing about – but not plots. For instance, in “A Butterfly on F Street,” a woman crossing the street has to wait in the median beside the woman for whom her recently-deceased husband left her. The other woman initiates a polite conversation, and the story ends with the protagonist standing alone in the median, overwhelmed by emotion. Has anything changed for her? What exactly was the point of this story? The shorter stories in particular often left me asking these questions. Others have complete plot arcs, but their last paragraphs are consistently their weakest. That said, this is good literature, and the stories fit together well; though set in a small and precise geographical area, they never become repetitive, and they cover similar themes in different ways. Rounding up to 4 stars because I am interested in reading Jones’s other short story collection, and not only to see if the endings improve!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Terryn

    Pulitzer-and-numerous-other-literary-prize winner Edward P. Jones’ “Lost in the City” was one of the books that had been chilling on my bookcase for a while before I cracked it open, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to grow a bit before digging into it. I got the first nudge from Junot Diaz at the National Book Festival, when he listed Jones as one of his influences. I’d read “The Known World” back when it came out, but I don’t think I’d developed the teeth necessary to really chew on and dige Pulitzer-and-numerous-other-literary-prize winner Edward P. Jones’ “Lost in the City” was one of the books that had been chilling on my bookcase for a while before I cracked it open, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to grow a bit before digging into it. I got the first nudge from Junot Diaz at the National Book Festival, when he listed Jones as one of his influences. I’d read “The Known World” back when it came out, but I don’t think I’d developed the teeth necessary to really chew on and digest that book; as a result “All Aunt Hagar’s Children” and “Lost in the City” languished in unread-book-land for years. It was totally worth it, though, because now that I live in the DC metro area the stories resonated with more depth for me. Books be knowing, y’all. Synopsis: It’s a book of short stories, and it’s easy to see where Junot Diaz got his inspiration for “Drown” and “This Is How You Lose Her” – Lost’s characters are connected to characters in All Aunt Hagar’s children, and are sometimes connected with stories in the same collection as well. Jones skillfully examines mid-century DC when it was still a ‘chocolate city’. The streets, locations, and descriptions of people are spot on. He captures the voice of old-school black DC in a quiet, unassuming, non-judgmental way. He’s just telling it how it is. I appreciate Jones’ narrative straightforwardness – Jones builds stories bit by bit, each piece appearing to just be matter of fact, and before you know it you’re at the end, pondering the bigger issues the story has quietly laid out. It’s great when good storytelling sneaks up on you. Favorite characters: Marie, an elderly woman who fends off a potential thief with her homemade serrated shank; Joyce, who acts like it’s all good that her son buys her a house using dope money and fakes like she can have kids with her man even though her tubes are tied; a store-keep who watches the rise and fall of a neighborhood corner store from his perch behind the counter. Read this if you: like DC, want to understand what the city was like for black folks before 2000, like Toni Morrison, like books with depth. Also, I was super pumped that my edition, published by Amistad, had “A Rich Man,” which I posted here as required cuffing reading not too long ago, included as a bonus to introduce readers to All Aunt Hagar’s Children. Gotta read that next!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book feels like a gift to Native Washingtonians. As I read, I envisioned the neighborhoods and how different they are now. Today I often hear the natives speak about gentrification. And then there's the recent news that Washington, DC is no longer "Chocolate City." It's obvious to me when Jones writes about certain parts of the city that even if the buildings look the same, the people don't. The stories seem so matter of fact - authentic. They're not flashy or dramatized. It's like it coul This book feels like a gift to Native Washingtonians. As I read, I envisioned the neighborhoods and how different they are now. Today I often hear the natives speak about gentrification. And then there's the recent news that Washington, DC is no longer "Chocolate City." It's obvious to me when Jones writes about certain parts of the city that even if the buildings look the same, the people don't. The stories seem so matter of fact - authentic. They're not flashy or dramatized. It's like it could be any of my neighbors. Every day people living every day lives in the Washington, DC of before. I'm excited to read his third book and short story collection, All Aunt Hagar's Children, which was published 15 years after Lost in the City. It is also about the people of Washington, DC and I wonder how much change is captured...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Chaikin

    "...he was left with the ever-increasing vastness of the small apartment..." Struggling just to get myself sitting and reading and actually blocking out the world a bit, and I picked this up to see if it would help. The collection of stories was the right kind of halfway step. Those ten, twenty, thirty minutes of focus were well rewarded, even if they came here in there, in a spotty way, between long draws on fb and the news and dwelling about where our world is headed—still obsessed. Jones is sp "...he was left with the ever-increasing vastness of the small apartment..." Struggling just to get myself sitting and reading and actually blocking out the world a bit, and I picked this up to see if it would help. The collection of stories was the right kind of halfway step. Those ten, twenty, thirty minutes of focus were well rewarded, even if they came here in there, in a spotty way, between long draws on fb and the news and dwelling about where our world is headed—still obsessed. Jones is special, and one-off personality with a wonderfully one-off take on his stories and their perspectives. You almost don't notice it. Each of these stories take place in Washington, D.C., that other Washington, D.C. Every character is black, each has roots in the south, either by birth or one generation removed, and each has been in D.C. for the majority or the entirety of their lives. The general poverty, limited opportunity, the divide from the white world are all taken for granted, accepted. It's an odd thing how few of these characters rebel, they live and breath this world as if there is no other. I'm hard pressed to place what it is that makes these stories work. I mean, of course they're interesting and have an odd assortment of characters, orphans, drug dealers, shop owners, suspect parents, convoluted relationship, escape artists of all sorts—getting lost in the city being a goal more than a problem. But, there is something else here that makes these stories work beyond their often terrific opening paragraphs, and despite their anticlimactic and unsatisfying endings. Published in 1992, written, apparently, throughout the 80's, and about characters often from the 1960's, there are a mixture of eras captured in tone, and atmosphere, and none of them our right now. But I enjoyed pretty much every one of these. "About four that afternoon the thunder and lightning began again. The four women seated about Carmona Boone's efficiency apartment grew still and spoke in whispers, when they spoke at all: They were each of them no longer young, and they had all been raised to believe that weather was—aside from answered prayers—the closest thing to the voice of God. And so each in her way listened." Recommended. ------------------------------------------ 7. Lost in the City : Stories by Edward P. Jones published: 1992 format: 268 page paperback acquired: from Borders in 2005 read: Jan 28 - Feb 5 rating: 4½

  8. 4 out of 5

    VaLinda Miller

    As someone who was born and raised in Washington, DC, I could not get enough of this book.  It reminded me so much of my life living on East Capital street in N.E., DC. The DC Stadium, Anacostia, H.D. Woodson, and Spingard high schools.  The DGS grocery store where I would walk to and buy every day items for my grandmother and me.  My first bus trip with my grandmother, who got up real early, took a long bath, sprayed “Secret” deodorant and baby power all over her then get me ready by making me As someone who was born and raised in Washington, DC, I could not get enough of this book.  It reminded me so much of my life living on East Capital street in N.E., DC. The DC Stadium, Anacostia, H.D. Woodson, and Spingard high schools.  The DGS grocery store where I would walk to and buy every day items for my grandmother and me.  My first bus trip with my grandmother, who got up real early, took a long bath, sprayed “Secret” deodorant and baby power all over her then get me ready by making me scrub my face and body with Ivory soap and put on very clean clothes of jeans and a T shirt to take that long ride from 50th and East Capital street through Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue, over the bridge, to Union Station.  I got memories. It's a hard life for the young and old living in DC, especially when you are struggling through spiritual and financial needs. These are stories of a state of contintually living day by day. However you can by any means necessary. A young woman who finds inspiration in the birds she takes care of on the roof of her building. A woman who keeps her faith thru a gospel group and a man who is trying to open a neighborhood grocery store like the DGS store I use to go do. A woman who accepts the fact that the house with it's fine furnishings are brought by a son who sells crack. What's different from his stories of life in DC to life now in DC, nothing. It is still hard, especially living in DC, with the most expensive housing around and not enough jobs. I really think, no I know, this is part of my life with the characters he mentions in this book. I also strived the good-life-dream, but it was damn hard then and it just got harder.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Edward P. Jones performs a literary sleight-of-hand in his Lost in the City by transforming the mundane into the transcendent. Jones writes the fourteen short stories in Lost. . . with simple, straightforward words. Look beyond the superficial simplicity, and you find powerful emotional poetry. From the “The First Day”, we’re told that ”On an otherwise unremarkable September morning, long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother, she takes my hand and we set off down New Jersey Avenue to beg Edward P. Jones performs a literary sleight-of-hand in his Lost in the City by transforming the mundane into the transcendent. Jones writes the fourteen short stories in Lost. . . with simple, straightforward words. Look beyond the superficial simplicity, and you find powerful emotional poetry. From the “The First Day”, we’re told that ”On an otherwise unremarkable September morning, long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother, she takes my hand and we set off down New Jersey Avenue to begin my first day of school.” — ”Long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother”. Jones loosely links the stories, all evoking the time, place, and politics of a past Washington, D.C. Each story highlights powerful events, sometimes obviously momentous and sometimes seemingly minor, and powerful emotions: read carefully, because otherwise you might miss some of the best lines. From “The Store”: Times were bad, said the old man, who was so bald you could read his thoughts.” From “Marie”: ”I remember like it was yesterday, that we got on this streetcar marked 13th and D NE. The more I rode, the more brighter things got. You ain’t lived till you been on a streetcar. The further we went on that streetcar — dead down the middle of the street — the more I knowed I could never go live in Baltimore. I knowed I could never live in a place that didn’t have that streetcar and them clackety-clack tracks….” Lost in the City’s stories are mostly true classics, with a remarkably low stinker ratio for any short story collection, and even more remarkable for a debut. 4.5 stars rounded to 5: it’s difficult to find better short story collections

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Bashaar

    I liked the stories in this collection a little better than the ones in All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories. The collections were similar, though, in that the stories are very light on plot. As someone who likes a short story with a classic conflict-story arc-resolution model, I find that a little unsatisfying. But, as with Jones' other collection, what I loved about these stories was the great work he does in creating characters and settings. Jones' characters aren't always very likable. Some of I liked the stories in this collection a little better than the ones in All Aunt Hagar's Children: Stories. The collections were similar, though, in that the stories are very light on plot. As someone who likes a short story with a classic conflict-story arc-resolution model, I find that a little unsatisfying. But, as with Jones' other collection, what I loved about these stories was the great work he does in creating characters and settings. Jones' characters aren't always very likable. Some of them are criminals. One is the crankiest teenage girl you will ever come across in literature. But they all seem real and vivid, and you find yourself rooting for them even when they are pretty reprehensible. Jones' dialog is especially spot-on and advances his characterizations. And he puts you right in the mid-to-late 20th century world of Washington DC. Also similar to All Aunt Hagar's Children, when you read all of the stories, they come together in an organic, uncontrived way. You are hearing the story of a community. The most poignant story for me was "The Sunday Following Mother's Day" about a woman whose father murdered her mother when she and her brother were both very young. She is the only member of the family who kept in touch with her father the whole time he was in prison. But now he has been released, and she is ambivalent about seeing him. I also enjoyed "A New Man," about parents whose teenage daughter goes missing. Like my reviews? Check out my blog at http://www.kathrynbashaar.com/blog/ Author of The Saints Mistress https://camcatbooks.com/Books/T/The-S...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    If Edward P. Jones were asked to suggest an epigraph for Lost in the City, I imagine he would give serious thought to the inscription over the door to Plato’s Academy: “Let no one enter here who is ignorant of geometry.” Much is made of the streets of Washington D.C. both within these stories and within the province of conspiracy theorists. The original street layout of our national capital was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a Freemason like many of the founding fathers, and the briefest g If Edward P. Jones were asked to suggest an epigraph for Lost in the City, I imagine he would give serious thought to the inscription over the door to Plato’s Academy: “Let no one enter here who is ignorant of geometry.” Much is made of the streets of Washington D.C. both within these stories and within the province of conspiracy theorists. The original street layout of our national capital was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a Freemason like many of the founding fathers, and the briefest glance at a city map reveals a number of possibly cultic symbolic interpretations, but such a reductive stance is not the intent of these stories; the author never makes mention of the more mysterious aspects of Washington’s urban design outside of its impact on the lives of his characters—the ways these streets provide the larger framework for tangential interaction. In fact, the first set of streets Mr. Jones locates us in—3rd and L Streets NW—have literally been lost in the city during the construction of Interstate 395. Rather, these stories are thematically tied together by a sense of place created whole clothe from the vicissitudes of survival on the streets—a sense of place that ultimately threatens to displace the inherent value of a strictly survivalist worldview. I am thinking of how, in many of these stories, the streets come to define themselves both within the characters and upon the characters. It is, at times, a matter of subtle word choice. By way of example in “The Girl who Raised Pigeons” we get “…she smelled what seemed a mixture of dirt and rainy air and heard a heart that seemed to be hurling itself against the wall of the bird’s breast,” in which the body of the bird is described as having a wall. In contrast with this, we are told, “She sang on into the night for herself alone, her voice pushing back everything she did not yet understand,” in the final sentence of “The Night Rhonda Ferguson was Killed”—I think thematically this “pushing back” is walling the boundaries between the known and the unknowable. Other times this interaction happens in a more radical and overt fashion, tied closer to plot and story structure. For instance, characters in “The Store,” “Lost in the City,” and “Marie” use the streets to retrace the pathways of their lives and memories of the city. In “The Sunday Before Mother’s Day,” Samuel “Pookie” Williams II uses streets to define what he can and cannot accept from life, frequently lapsing into the first person plural “we” as he talks of himself—almost as if he cannot know himself outside of how he is known by others. By example, here is a passage from his longest speaking part: “…I been all over the damn world, …so when I came back I knew what I wanted to put in my own world, and he’ll never be in it…. We have our wife and child, and you and Maddie and Hazel’s family.” By further extension of this when the action of a story becomes violent or unpredictable, the details given often take on a geometrical quality. In the aforementioned story, we are told in a description of a pool of blood that: “The floor tilted, and so the blood had flowed through the night in several thin lines from the dead woman, and one line had been heading directly toward where Maddie was standing in the doorway.” After the climactic violence of “Young Lions” Caesar and Carol exit each other’s lives along diagonal lines—she walking away on Massachusetts and he heading north on 17th, looking over his shoulder “expecting something or someone.” Perhaps one of the more interesting examples comes in “Marie” when the title character slaps a Social Security secretary and the action immediately follows not the impact of the slap but the smaller incidence of a dropped fingernail file striking the floor. Of course, there is more at play than the significance of streets and geometry in Lost in the City. Stormy weather plays a major role as does music. There is also a specific dialect to which the author tunes the stories, but even these qualities feel subordinate to the streets. For a collection of stories about city life, more than half of the action takes place outside on the streets and, by extension, is under the influence of the city environment more so than some sort of controlled indoor atmosphere. There are the bigger questions of the city’s changing racial identity and familiar ties to the south, which often underscore the characters’ various perspectives, but even these play out into the streets as we find the advent of MLK and Malcolm X on streets and place names. The book ends paradoxically insofar as—when taken in conjunction with the title—the last sentence hints that part of the peoples’ voice isn’t so much leant to the streets as lost in the maze. Still, tonally this final note is pitch-perfect for the bittersweet nostalgia that threads through these stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Washington D.C. stories like mini novels (most of them). Sometimes there seemed a little too much going on, but all are engaging, complicated tales set amongst the black community in the USA capital - the part tourists don't see - in the 60s/70s/80s. A very sympathetic, well tuned ear. Single mothers, drugs, music, church, family life, how to run a store for years. The best one though was a story from his next collection (All Aunt Hagar's Children) - this is a quite recent edition - must get tha Washington D.C. stories like mini novels (most of them). Sometimes there seemed a little too much going on, but all are engaging, complicated tales set amongst the black community in the USA capital - the part tourists don't see - in the 60s/70s/80s. A very sympathetic, well tuned ear. Single mothers, drugs, music, church, family life, how to run a store for years. The best one though was a story from his next collection (All Aunt Hagar's Children) - this is a quite recent edition - must get that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    My copy of LOST IN THE CITY is a reprint, opening with a 2012 introduction* by Jones, and if you can, find a copy with this intro (granted, there's a case to be made for reading introductions until you've read the main work). There are many things to love about this essay, which I suspect Jones may have given as a speech...AWP? Consider this passage: In my first months at Holy Cross College, I found an inordinate amount of ignorance about the city where I was born and raised, about a place that My copy of LOST IN THE CITY is a reprint, opening with a 2012 introduction* by Jones, and if you can, find a copy with this intro (granted, there's a case to be made for reading introductions until you've read the main work). There are many things to love about this essay, which I suspect Jones may have given as a speech...AWP? Consider this passage: In my first months at Holy Cross College, I found an inordinate amount of ignorance about the city where I was born and raised, about a place that not even the crudest of maps could fail to acknowledge. Young men who came from towns that some maps cared not to acknowledge would share stories of how these places had taken them and shaped them and taught them life. They found it hard to believe that in Washington, DC, the capital of what I came to call the "unfree world," black human beings lived full and valued lives, lives that had all the grandness of white life in small, nowhere towns. These young men could envision the fullness of white life in Washington because those people who ran the "unfree" world were all white, were their relatives in that respect. The descendants of slaves remained as invisible as their ancestors. Sometime in my early years at Holy Cross, Professor Maurice Geracht pointed across the ocean to the east where dwelled James Joyce's DUBLINERS. I had no desire to be anybody's writer, but I admired Joyce's bold and evident love of his Dublin people; I knew all the people in that book because they weren't doing anything different than what black people in Washington, D.C. were doing. The secret rooms of a mind are working away even as the body and the rest of that mind piddle along. It is probably true, then, that the ignorance of the whites at Holy Cross and the discovery of something as grand as DUBLINERS took up significant space in one of my secret rooms so that when I laid aside thoughts of being a mathematician or a lawyer or journalist and took a place at the very back of the long line of those thinking of perhaps being somebody's writer. I had two things with which I set it off. I didn't care to bring the world of poor and working class people in Washington to the ignorant masses that could never think of black people as human beings anyway. Let them simmer in their ignorance and be eaten by educated savages. But I knew there was a tragic and wondrous and often perfect glory about those black people and I had-- in the last months of college and the first years afterward--a growing desire to sing their song if I had the ability. Even if only to hear it again, remember again. Even if no one else in the universe wanted to hear it again. I had read a small library's worth of books before DUBLINERS, but it was the one that planted a molecular seed of envy in me, made me later want to follow Joyce's example and do the same for Washington and its real people. Many of those who run the unfree world lack souls, so I had no desire to write about the Devil's people in Washington.... *** Reading is full of happy accidents, and the fact that I'm re-reading Malcolm X while, um, LOST IN THE CITY is one such happy accident-- the two books complement each other so beautifully. I felt Malcolm X' presence so deeply in the passage above, and in the stories that fill the book. Jones, like Malcolm X, is relentless in his insistence on telling the truth about the suffering of his people and the evil of white racism; he even uses the phrase Malcolm X used for white racists: devils. But both men are equal opportunity truth-tellers-- they have just as much, if not more, to say to Black people about the role they play in their own lives as well as their own communities. As first generation Irish, I can't help but be moved by Jones' feeling for Joyce and other Irish writers, and what African Americans and Irish have in common, not only as as writers and artists but as people who have been exploited-- although, God knows, the Irish have had more advantages than African Americans have (and Jones' story of Holy Cross is a testament to that-- how the more assimilated sons are unable to appreciate Jones' humanity and significance, either as an individual or as part of DC's black community. And yet Jones has the vision to embrace DUBLINERS, not only as a great work of art but as a compassionate portrait of a marginalized people. In BAD NEIGHBORS, another Jones story, there's a shout-out to the Irish writer Mary Lavin-- a writer few Americans even know. BAD NEIGHBORS is a rambling, gorgeous and devastating story from Jones' collection ALL AUNT HAGAR's CHILDREN, a book that contains perhaps the most exquisite Jones story of all (so far!), A RICH MAN. But I'm getting off track. What Jones does, aside from write stories that are great on their own terms, is to bring lives that have been devalued into glorious living relief. His prose is beautiful and evocative. He uses the specifics of Washington DC to tell universal truths. As with Joyce and Dublin, Cheever and Shady Hill, Chekhov, O'Connor, etc etc,. he triumphs by making the particular universal. Above all, Jones is a truth-teller. I have the impression, in spite of all the prizes, that Jones isn't as widely read as he should be. It's my devout hope to be proven wrong about that. Anecdotally, I don't hear many writer/reader friends talking about him. And I kept expecting to hear Jones' novel THE KNOWN WORLD as a deeply relevant work when people talk about 12 YEARS A SLAVE -- but I never do. Maybe I just missed those articles. In the meantime, I'm working on a piece about the visionary synergy between Jones and Steve McQueen-- two truth tellers dealing in similar territory. Enough. Read LOST IN THE CITY. evelyn. ps A RICH MAN is included in this edition, to promote the HAGAR stories-- it was also included in my copy of THE KNOWN WORLD. Bonus!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) This 1992 debut collection is set in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s to 1990s and features elderly church ladies, aimless young people threatened by street violence, and middle-aged men coming to terms with their Southern heritage. I grew up in the D.C. suburbs and our predominantly African-American church met in D.C. before moving out to Maryland, so although I’m more familiar with a tourist’s perspective on the capital than a resident’s, these stories felt authentic to me: the names, the B (3.5) This 1992 debut collection is set in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s to 1990s and features elderly church ladies, aimless young people threatened by street violence, and middle-aged men coming to terms with their Southern heritage. I grew up in the D.C. suburbs and our predominantly African-American church met in D.C. before moving out to Maryland, so although I’m more familiar with a tourist’s perspective on the capital than a resident’s, these stories felt authentic to me: the names, the Black speech and slang (I also learned two new-to-me terms, “Bama” and “ace-coon” for a poorly dressed bumpkin and a homeboy, respectively), the locations, and the ironic sense of being marginalized even when living so close to the national seat of power. This is perhaps clearest in the title story, in which a high-class prostitute gets word that her mother has died and jumps in a taxi; instead of asking to go straight to the hospital where the body lies, she makes the odd request to just drive around until they get lost. Twelve of the 14 stories are in the third person; perversely, I especially liked the two first-person stories. In one, the very short “The First Day,” a little girl learns to be ashamed of her illiterate mother when she’s registered for kindergarten; in the other, my overall favorite, “The Store,” an unlikely friendship arises between a lazy young man and the woman who hires him to work in her grocery store. Other stand-outs were “The Sunday Following Mother’s Day,” in which a father tries to make up for being absent in prison while his children were growing up; “Gospel,” about a group of elderly gospel singers reeling from inevitable life changes; “A Dark Night,” something of a horror story in which elderly women meeting for prayer end up telling tales of stormy nights from their past; and “Marie,” about an old woman who gets so fed up with the Social Security Administration that she ends up doing something that doesn’t line up with her upbringing, as captured by a folklore student. Favorite lines (from “The Store”): “When my brother and I were in our early teens, my mother said this to us with the most seriousness she had ever said anything: ‘Never even if you become king of the whole world, I don’t want yall messing with a white cop.’” “When you work in a grocery store the world comes to buy: tons of penny candy and small boxes of soap powder because the next size up—only pennies more—is too expensive and rubbing alcohol and baby formula and huge sweet potatoes for pies for church socials and spray guns and My Knight and Dixie Peach hair grease and Stanback … headache powder and all colors of Griffin shoe polish and nylon stockings and twenty-five cents worth of hogshead cheese cut real thin to make more sandwiches and hairnets for practically bald old women trudging off to work at seventy-five and lard,” etc.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kawai

    I was strangely unmoved by this collection, despite the fact that it covers one of the most underrepresented groups in literature: namely, the African-American population of Washington, DC. As a current resident of that city, it's a rare experience to be able to read about a world that used to exist, which I tread on now in an admittedly (and sadly) post-gentrified time. And while it made the stories more visceral and real to have them set right outside my door (or in other neighborhoods I used I was strangely unmoved by this collection, despite the fact that it covers one of the most underrepresented groups in literature: namely, the African-American population of Washington, DC. As a current resident of that city, it's a rare experience to be able to read about a world that used to exist, which I tread on now in an admittedly (and sadly) post-gentrified time. And while it made the stories more visceral and real to have them set right outside my door (or in other neighborhoods I used to haunt), there wasn't much else here I found particularly compelling. Jones' stories tended towards the modern, realist, minimalist style of much of contemporary literature: The sort of work we see from Alice Munro and other New Yorker regulars. Fans of that work will find value of something here; I have to admit, however, it's not my cup of tea. Jones is a highly decorated and well-respected author, so I can only assume it's a mark against my personal taste that the collection didn't resonate with me. When a collection delves directly into the everyday world, eschews heightened tension, and prefers straightforward prose, I tend to lose interest. If not high stakes, then give me lyrical, inventive prose; if not that, give me some lesser mix of the two. But to leave them both to the side in favor of something quiet, slow, and minimal, and I honestly fail to be enchanted.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bap

    This was Edward P. Jones first book. It is an amazing collection of stories centered around ordinary black people in DC. showing that ordinary people can be the stuff of extraordinary writing. These are not stories with a suprise ending or a message. Rather they are a slice of life with people who you might be sitting next to on the bus. Jones is not judgmental. They are all gods creatures, they are in one way or another lost in the city. I know Edward if only slightly and he is an unassuming guy This was Edward P. Jones first book. It is an amazing collection of stories centered around ordinary black people in DC. showing that ordinary people can be the stuff of extraordinary writing. These are not stories with a suprise ending or a message. Rather they are a slice of life with people who you might be sitting next to on the bus. Jones is not judgmental. They are all gods creatures, they are in one way or another lost in the city. I know Edward if only slightly and he is an unassuming guy without a hint of worldliness about him. He seems shy, somewhat eccentic and is a product of the streets and neighborhoods that he writes about. He doesn't own a car and only by the intervention of the state department did he get a passport issued. So, it came as a bit of suprise to me that he has a canvass that is so large concerning the human condition. He is not innocent or nostalgic. He is like a photographer that gets the picture without gussying it up, or playing tricks. What James Joyce did for middle class dubliners in his series of short stores, the Dubliners, Jones has done for poor and working class blacks in DC in this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...

    These stories are quiet, rich, textured and make me feel like I better understand the lives of these African American men and women who live in the District of Columbia. Of course, I know that isn't true, but when a book makes me think and feel and have empathy for the characters, it is one that I am grateful to have read. These stories are quiet, rich, textured and make me feel like I better understand the lives of these African American men and women who live in the District of Columbia. Of course, I know that isn't true, but when a book makes me think and feel and have empathy for the characters, it is one that I am grateful to have read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Lost in the city is an apt and appropriate title for these 14 short stories. All take place in the African-American sections of Washington DC and all of the characters are black. The first story, The Girl Who Raised Pigeons, demonstrates that the characters are real and that they have the same feelings of love and self that whites have. Betsy Ann is eight when she first sees pigeons being raised by a barber friend of her father. It is love at first sight. Over the years she bothers her father for Lost in the city is an apt and appropriate title for these 14 short stories. All take place in the African-American sections of Washington DC and all of the characters are black. The first story, The Girl Who Raised Pigeons, demonstrates that the characters are real and that they have the same feelings of love and self that whites have. Betsy Ann is eight when she first sees pigeons being raised by a barber friend of her father. It is love at first sight. Over the years she bothers her father for pigeons of her own. He relents and they construct a coop on their apartment roof. The flock grows. But the telling part, the indication of great paternal love, is that her taxicab-driving father gets up every morning before Betsy Ann wakes up and inspects the coop to spare her the sight of any dead birds. The Store and Young Lions demonstrate the characters provincialism, lack of education, victims of their environment and their being generally helpless. The Store is told in the first person and the protagonist is unnamed. In his late teens he looks and finds a job in a small grocery store owned and managed by Mrs. Jenkins. She is a strict taskmaster and at first mistrusts him. As years go by she gives him more and more responsibility. She finally physically leaves and he becomes the store manager. He and Mrs. Jenkins meet infrequently away from the store. All is well until he receives a letter from Mrs. Jenkins telling him that the store is sold. The letter contains $4,000 in “Severin pay.” His whole experience is based on the store. He does not know where to turn. He is lost in the city. Caesar in Young Lions tries and eventually convinces his girlfriend, Carol, to participate in a scam. Together they talk an older woman to remove her savings from a bank in cash. They rob her and in the process Carol ends up with the cash. Caesar pushes Carol into a park and, in an attempt to get the cash beats her. But Carol is tough and strong, holds onto the cash and walks away. The story ends with, “There was something in the air, but he (Caesar) could not make out what it was. He walked out of the park. He kept looking behind him, expecting something or someone, be he was alone in the street and he saw nothing but the swirling of dead leaves. He continued looking behind him as he made his way up 17th Street. He took out the address book, but found that he could not read the name or the numbers under the feeble streetlights. He hurried, hoping for a telephone booth where the light would be brighter. He began to run, and as he ran, he kept trying to read the numbers, but the rain was now turning them to blurs. He did not know what was in the air. He only knew that tonight would not be a night without shelter.” He was lost in the city.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    UGH! Is there some rule that says that all sort stories must: 1) have some kind of plot twist or surprise, and 2) the surprise must be depressing? I mean, really? This collection opens with a story about a girl who raises pigeons. It ends with all the pigeons except two being killed by rats (sort of poetically ironic, considering that pigeons are flying rats). The two remaining pigeons escape and stare at the girl from across the way, refusing to come home since they are their compatriots were b UGH! Is there some rule that says that all sort stories must: 1) have some kind of plot twist or surprise, and 2) the surprise must be depressing? I mean, really? This collection opens with a story about a girl who raises pigeons. It ends with all the pigeons except two being killed by rats (sort of poetically ironic, considering that pigeons are flying rats). The two remaining pigeons escape and stare at the girl from across the way, refusing to come home since they are their compatriots were betrayed. Further along in the collection is another story set in inner city DC, focused on a group of down and out girls. On the periphery is one talented girl, who is the hope of the neighborhood. At the beginning of the story, this one great hope is on her way to signing a record contract. As the other girls drive aimlessly through the city and the story, they talk about how they will all ride her star up and out of the ghetto. The story closes with Great Hope being shot and killed in a senseless random act. Pretty much all the stories are the same. Just enough character development so you feel some kinship with the characters, and then a random tragic event where someone or something dies. It felt like a collection of stories using Mad Libs, with (girl's name) + (missing parent) + (inner city location) + (tragic event) all strung together. UGH!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    I've never really been a fan of reading short stories, but I decided to give this a try and thank goodness that I did. Each of these stories will pull at a heart string. After completing each story I had to take a break just to think about what I just read. This collection was just absolutely breathtaking and I was overwhelmed by each individual story. Edward P. Jones is amazing and I cannot wait to read one of his novels. I've never really been a fan of reading short stories, but I decided to give this a try and thank goodness that I did. Each of these stories will pull at a heart string. After completing each story I had to take a break just to think about what I just read. This collection was just absolutely breathtaking and I was overwhelmed by each individual story. Edward P. Jones is amazing and I cannot wait to read one of his novels.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    Can anyone do the big, sprawling voice better than Edward P. Jones? I'm not sure. But each story in this collection gives you insight into an entire world, not just a few characters getting through a difficult situation like you see in so many other short story writers these days. Definitely read this book, if for no other reason than to observe the progression of a great writer. Can anyone do the big, sprawling voice better than Edward P. Jones? I'm not sure. But each story in this collection gives you insight into an entire world, not just a few characters getting through a difficult situation like you see in so many other short story writers these days. Definitely read this book, if for no other reason than to observe the progression of a great writer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate Levin

    One of the stories in this book was so good that I almost wished I hadn't read it, because I couldn't get it off my mind. The one called "The Sunday Following Mother's Day." This is one my favorite books. One of the stories in this book was so good that I almost wished I hadn't read it, because I couldn't get it off my mind. The one called "The Sunday Following Mother's Day." This is one my favorite books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    emily

    the blocks i walk each day look different after reading these stories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I've read these stories--all taking place in various part of and featuring various residents of Washington, D.C.--again and again. Jones is simply one of the greatest story writers around. I've read these stories--all taking place in various part of and featuring various residents of Washington, D.C.--again and again. Jones is simply one of the greatest story writers around.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bill Silva

    These stories all share a common setting and have some interrelated characters, but each story stands alone as a finely wrought, exquisitely detailed and evocative depiction of the lives of Black working class Washingtonians and their boundaried world. In a completely unexploitative way, many of the stories contain an act of violence that impinges on the characters and shapes their actions and outcomes. Each story helps to construct an entire world that the reader comes to see as incredibly rich These stories all share a common setting and have some interrelated characters, but each story stands alone as a finely wrought, exquisitely detailed and evocative depiction of the lives of Black working class Washingtonians and their boundaried world. In a completely unexploitative way, many of the stories contain an act of violence that impinges on the characters and shapes their actions and outcomes. Each story helps to construct an entire world that the reader comes to see as incredibly rich and complex--although highly contingent and inevitably shaped by factors and circumstances beyond the control of the characters themselves. Jones is perhaps best known for his incredible novel The Known World, which is a masterpiece. But these stories, and those in the companion volume All Aunt Hagar's Children (which I'm currently reading), are worth exploring and delving into on their own terms.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hana Vizcarra

    Beautiful vignettes of everyday life in old DC. A great book to read on commutes or before bed as the individual stories do not take long.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I say it every time but I love short stories for the way they engage and portray a broad spectrum of humanity. Yes, ‘Lost in the City’ is a microcosm of the African-American experience in Washington DC in the late twentieth century and Edward P. Jones gets to the heart of this with art and skill, yet we can all relate to loss, and fear and the hope that run through these pages. Everyone in these stories is striving for something better, something more than what they have, whether its education f I say it every time but I love short stories for the way they engage and portray a broad spectrum of humanity. Yes, ‘Lost in the City’ is a microcosm of the African-American experience in Washington DC in the late twentieth century and Edward P. Jones gets to the heart of this with art and skill, yet we can all relate to loss, and fear and the hope that run through these pages. Everyone in these stories is striving for something better, something more than what they have, whether its education for their kids, a better relationship, more money, more something. All have hope but so often in these stories, that hope is dashed and the future cut short. All too often women are hurt and killed by men, three women killed in total in 14 stories, many more hurt. In several stories the opening line is to do with such brutality, there is no shying away from the reality, there is no justification or really even explanation, just statements like this; ‘When Madeline Williams was four years old and her brother Sam was ten, their father killed their mother one night in early April.’ All too often the male characters are portrayed as brutal and selfish running away from unplanned pregnancies and using their strength against the ones who love them. Yet in ‘His Mother’s House’ we see another side to this in a mother for whom her son will always be a child, innocent until proven otherwise. By linking three or four of the stories, with minor characters in one story becoming central in another, Edward P. Jones creates a sense of this small world in a much larger one. He shows us how we are all interconnected, that the idea of family isn’t just about blood and that without someone looking out for us the world can be a hard and lonely place. Relationships, especially between parents and children, grown up or otherwise are the crux to the majority of the stories and provide a large part of their pathos. Neglect and separation, loyalty and fighting, illness and death are all featured and break the heart time and again. Edward P. Jones has a talent for getting inside his characters heads and hearts and splaying them open for us to gaze at and wonder what happened next. However, what so often sets short stories aside from novels is their endings, the lack of neatness or the resolving of something. So many times the endings for these stories simply tapered off and left the story hanging yet in this way they became more poignant and evocative. One of my favorite endings was that of the story ‘Gospel’ where Jones writes; ‘In the end, it grew cold in the car, and colder still, and at first she did not notice, and then when she did, she thought it was the general condition of the whole world, owing to the snow, and that there was not very much she could do about it.’(p.201) These stories are timeless and relevant –in light of what’s going in in America at the moment, the episode with the cop in ‘Young Lions’ was particularly pertinent. But ultimately, although the details of the stories may be unique to this particular community, the yearning and the hope, the drama and the tragedy are colorless, they are universal themes that run across humanity and are why this book is such a great read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    While many American cultural treasures rest on walls, under glass, or in archives in stodgy institutions in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. is rarely thought of as a place that inspires and brings life to original works of art that speak of the District as a "real" city where "real" people live. It is certainly not, for instance, New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, as a beacon of American culture. When a work comes along, however, that brings something uniquely "of the District" to li While many American cultural treasures rest on walls, under glass, or in archives in stodgy institutions in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. is rarely thought of as a place that inspires and brings life to original works of art that speak of the District as a "real" city where "real" people live. It is certainly not, for instance, New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, as a beacon of American culture. When a work comes along, however, that brings something uniquely "of the District" to life -- and it's good, as is Lost in the City -- it's a treat to say the least. The short stories that make up Lost in the City are all set in a rather confined geographical area of the District, where urban Northwest and urban Northeast meet. They are not stories of transients in Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, or Georgetown; but, rather, African American men, women, children, and families who have traditionally called the District "home". In this tiny slice of space, the stories wind through different points in time and focus on varied themes -- ranging from nostalgic stories of lively Black neighborhoods in the 1950s, to tragic stories of lost children and characters "losing it" to drugs, poverty, and crime. Every story in Lost in the City is memorable. And, while Jones imbues each with a different feel, they nevertheless feel naturally connected. Jones has a particular skill for creating a space between his words -- a silence -- that speaks a great deal about his characters and their circumstances. He occasionally rests on this skill too much -- the reader hungers a bit for one or two stories in the mix that tell more than they don't tell. But not because the stories are in any way lacking in what they don't tell. Ultimately, this collection is unique both for revealing Jones' substantial talent as a writer, and for compellingly painting revealing pictures of a part of D.C. life very few tourists (and many residents) ever come to know.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Austin Hunt

    This was really hard to rate... _Lost in the City_ is a collection of short stories about the lives of African Americans in Washington D.C. in the middle of the 20th century. On a technical level, the stories are very good. In the introduction, the author writes that though the stories were all of his imagination, the stories and characters were real, and I really did get this sense while reading. There are 14 stories in the collection, and the main characters are presented chronologically (start This was really hard to rate... _Lost in the City_ is a collection of short stories about the lives of African Americans in Washington D.C. in the middle of the 20th century. On a technical level, the stories are very good. In the introduction, the author writes that though the stories were all of his imagination, the stories and characters were real, and I really did get this sense while reading. There are 14 stories in the collection, and the main characters are presented chronologically (starting with children and ending with the elderly). I found these stories useful for thinking about the civil rights era from the "everyday perspective". Somewhat surprisingly, MLK and the major civil rights legislation of the 1960s are not mentioned. Segregation itself is not directly mentioned... though it does restrict the world of the characters to just a few neighborhoods. Washington D.C. has changed so much over the last few decades that the settings of these stories are likely unrecognizable today. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this collection because of the deep nihilism that characterizes it (It's called "Lost in the City" after all). There are no stories that end positively, and the author does not indicate that there is any purpose in human suffering. In the end, I couldn't help but think that the literary talents on display in this collection were wasted on a sad, sad man.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Roger DeBlanck

    Edward P. Jones’s first book Lost in the City is a collection of short stories that take place in settings around Jones's hometown of Washington D.C. The force of the collection is the depth to which he explores his characters. Through the use of simple language, Jones’s captivating style holds readers attention as he takes on topics that are disturbing, sad, and raw. Whether dealing with loss, crime, or wrongdoing, these stories do not pass judgment. In fact, a dominating theme comes through in Edward P. Jones’s first book Lost in the City is a collection of short stories that take place in settings around Jones's hometown of Washington D.C. The force of the collection is the depth to which he explores his characters. Through the use of simple language, Jones’s captivating style holds readers attention as he takes on topics that are disturbing, sad, and raw. Whether dealing with loss, crime, or wrongdoing, these stories do not pass judgment. In fact, a dominating theme comes through in each of them: that life just passes by, without us knowing or noting it, with so little joy to counteract a great deal of struggle and suffering. Painful memories, wounded thoughts, and frequent hardships sting the characters and force them into a world that seems unfair. Death lurks everywhere and opportunities to succeed pull away from them. Yet they are human, survivors of a rough city and tough upbringing. The stories bear witness and let stand what happens so that we might have a glimpse of the tragedies and then gain compassion for human suffering. The portraits Jones sets forth in these tales are not pretty, yet they are real and given to us to reflect upon.

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