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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday review - Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

If you're a musician, a music lover or just a fan of jazz, run, don't walk to the bookstore and buy Esi Edugyan's book - Half-Blood Blues.

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.


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