Lost in the City
by Edward P. Jones
When I wrote about The Known World, I mentioned Edward P. Jones' all-seeing narrative voice, free of judgment. That voice is almost frustratingly present in Lost in the City - Jones might give you several of a character's thoughts and actions, but he never reduces it to something simple by tying a verbal bow around it. The reader is left to wonder, judge, extrapolate, and doubt. I might liken his short stories to those of Flannery O'Connor, but O'Connor's stories - many of them brutally depressing - seem to suggest we should be laughing at the same time we're crying. Jones doesn't open the door to humor in the same way, which probably suggests something real and depressing about the African-American condition.