cover image All Aunt Hagar's Children

All Aunt Hagar's Children

Edward P. Jones. HarperAudio, $44.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-085290-0

Coming after the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Known World, Jones's second collection of stories journeys the length and breadth of Washington, D.C., past and present, for inspiration. James, stentorian and assured, sounds like an East Coast version of Charlton Heston's Moses, intoning Jones's prose like a contemporary version of the 10 Commandments. There is an odd disjunction between James's mostly uninflected reading and the heavily accented dialect he provides for Jones's characters when they speak, but James makes it work. Jones, acclaimed as one of the most talented American writers currently at work, composes smooth, measured prose that demands a reader like James, who follows the ebb and flow of Jones's stories like the score of an opera.