Thursday, March 23, 2023

Connecting Lost in the City & All Aunt Hagar’s Children

By Kenton Rambsy

A defining feature of Edward P. Jones’s short fiction has been his tendency to connect characters across collections. He presents at least one character from the first story in Lost in the City again in the first story in All Aunt Hagar’s Children, and he does so with the second story in the collections, the third, and all the additional stories.

In “Lost in the City,” the eighth story in the collection, a secondary character, Georgia, reprises her role in “Common Law,” which is the eighth story in All Aunt Hagar’s Children. In “The Store,” the fifth story in Lost in the City, Penelope “Penny” Jenkins appears in a smaller role than in “Aunt Hagar’s Children.”

One character, Anita Hughes, appears in three of Jones’s stories: “The Night Rhonda Ferguson Was Killed” and “The Gospel” in Lost in the City and “Resurrecting Methuselah” in All Aunt Hagar’s Children. Anita is a teenager and secondary character in Lost in the City, and she is an adult protagonist when she appears in Jones’s second collection.

By returning to common characters, he reveals a commitment to them over extended periods of time. Furthermore, the characters represent a kind of continuity between his collections.

This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

No comments: