Monday, February 13, 2012
Monday review - Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you the story, partly because you need to read it - it won't take long, it's like a great piece of jazz, you'll just get caught up in it and want to rush on to the end.
But also because, for me, though I enjoyed the story, it was the voice that drew me in. In fact, the voice blew me away.
The story is set mostly in Paris in the 1940s, the characters a group of dispossessed jazz musicians from German - dispossessed because they're not Aryan, but shades of black.
The voice of the story is Sid - an American who ends up in Germany and flees with his fellow musicians when the Nazis start harassing everyone who is even slightly different.
And that voice is a masterpiece. Here's a single sentence that I've picked totally at random: This was it, these dames swaying their hips in shimmering dresses, these chaps drinking gutbucket hooch.
There are other things to love about this book, the things I learned about jazz, about Paris in the 1940s, about Germany in the 1940s, but for me Sid's voice is what I remember, what I loved.