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Jazz Paperback – June 8, 2004
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Narrated by the author, Toni Morrison, this is an intense but gratifying three hours of tape. Background jazz music enhances the feel of '20s Harlem, a city that attracted thousands of black southerners hoping for better lives. Joe Trace and his wife Violet were part of this migration; madly in love with each other and the idea of this urban mecca, they "traindanced into the city." But like so many of the marriages in Morrison's novels, this union crumbles, and the dreams for a better life fade away. Joe finds another, a love "that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going."
In Jazz, time ebbs and flows like human memory, traversing between recollections of the past and expectations for the future; likewise, jazz music is often wild and chaotic. Here Morrison once again exemplifies herself as both a superb writer and a masterful storyteller. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison is considered one of America's finest novelists for her profound and provocative works of fiction. Visit Amazon's Toni Morrison Page.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are small pars of the novel that are a bit too detailed in the rendering of lesser character's lives. Yet her rendering of the time period- Harlem in the 20's, and the community is incredible. This is more, or different, than a novel. It is an epic poem- an epic jazz poem that has you hearing the music as it mildly, painfully, poignantly and triumphantly ends. Toni will not let you down with this one.
Unlike many books about marriage, this one is a love story. Although it bears no relationship to any romance novel you have ever read, it reveals the way that the need for love develops from within each of us and allows us to grasp its potential when we respond to the yearnings of those we care about.
Music was important in the lives of many people during those years. Churches and music halls vied for the attention of most people in the cities. Jazz was a new influence, bursting on the scene with a combination of extreme freedom and mutual respect for the other players. In this book, jazz is represented both as a symbol of freedom and as a source of base impulses that can lead people astray. Ms. Morrison also pays homage to jazz by building her narrative around the individual stories of those involved taken in solitary order, much like the solos in a jazz piece. The narratives all weave together, but you have to hear the whole piece to understand how. Be patient with what seem like digressions. They are really transitions into new perspectives, like when a horn does a riff before returning to the theme.
You also get the metaphor of jazz used in the relationship of the two Traces. They were originally in rhythm with each other, then fell out of rhythm, and then regained their ability to improvise together.Read more ›
After reading the first page, the reader is familiarized with the basics of the plot within the novel. The basic tale, which takes place in Harlem, begins with an aging man named Joe, who is unhappy in his marriage. He ends up looking for love outside of his home and finds it in the 18 year old, Dorcas. Their involvement lasts several months but ends after Dorcas, desiring a younger companion, breaks up with Joe. Unable to let go, Joe murders his youthful former-mistress. When his wife, Violet, finds out that he has had an affair, she makes an appearance at Dorcas' open-casket funeral and mutilates the corpse. For months Joe mopes about his loss, but Violet goes outward with her emotions. She ends up speaking to and bonding with the aunt of the deceased. As time progresses, Violet and Joe work to reconstruct their marriage. The story occurs over several months, but most of this information is exposed within the first several pages. The early exposition of the plot shows that it is not the most important piece of this work's puzzle. More important is the unique way that the plot develops.
Different aspects of the tale develop as different narrators offer new details of the events.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book for class purposes, however it was very good.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The melody of her metaphor. Oh, the ways she can tell a thing! Simply, then with all sorts of deepening. Reprisals that feel like a repast when it's been too long. Eat slowly. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jones
I love her. I love everything about the Morrison's style of writing. Granted sometimes I have to re-read a book a few times to bring it all together. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Miss T.
The ending was insane! Once you figure out who's telling the story, your mind will be blown!Published 3 months ago by theadear
This is my first Toni Morrison book. It was our book club choice for this month. I'll be interested in seeing what everyone else thought. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kathy Pratt
The way Morrison writes is kind of in itself like Jazz. it goes up and down from different characters, delving into different stories which at the same time are clearly connected... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Anna
While this is in a trilogy with Beloved, it's thematically related and not connected by plot. Due to my enjoyment of Beloved, I decided to check out this book. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Margaret Carmel