Tal itibaren Lisberg, Almanya
The Known World incorporates much of my favorite fodder for reading material: the South and its history, the complicated gender and race relations that issued from slavery, a splendid Cormac McCarthyesque detour into Texas and savory prose that makes the reader careful to register each word. Before I read this book, reviews that described its pace as "plodding" mildly dampened my enthusiasm. My concerns were quickly put to rest--the pace serves an extremely effective purpose that reflects storytelling in all its asides and tangents, that emulates the pace of real life, and that picks up the pieces of a fragmented historical record and imbues it with the life and emotion of an impressive cast of characters. The main protagonists are a place and an era whose time is past, but whose legacy continues to permeate the landscape for the decades that follow. Much like this tale will haunt the reader long after the final page is read.
Officially a book for kids, but like many of Blyton's works, this book carries within its pages a moral message that is just as relevant for adults as well. The writing is engaging, although perhaps the language is straying towards being more formal as times move on, the characters are complex and well developed through the course of the plot. The action is somewhat limited, a natural consequence of being a tale for and about children at school, but the journeys of the various characters, particularly the titular one, is no less clear for that. Overall an excellent read.