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Half Blood Blues by [Edugyan, Esi]
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Half Blood Blues Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2012: Looping from Nazi-occupied Berlin and Paris to modern-day Baltimore and back, Esi Edugyan's Giller prize-winning Half-Blood Blues is a haunting song of a novel. In Paris 1940, the three remaining Hot-Time Swingers run take after exhausted take, trying to get one right before the S.S. boots stomp their last chance. Our irascible narrator, Sid, learned to play bass lin Baltimore, with his longtime friend and rival Chip on drums, and in Berlin they'd joined up with Hiero, a half-black German “kid” who blows brilliant trumpet with a “massive sound, wild and unexpected, like a thicket of flowers in a bone-dry field.” As Hiero scratches the wax on disc after disc of imagined mistakes, Sid saves the final take--the record that will become legendary. When Hiero's arrested and sent to a Nazi camp, Sid’s the only witness, and things look suspicious. Fifty years later, Chip and Sid return to Berlin for the opening of a film about Hiero. But Sid stands accused of engineering his disappearance, and a strange letter suggests there’s more to the story than anyone knew. With delightfully witty jazz-cat banter, tactile imagery, and descriptions of music sensual enough to stand your hair on end, Edugyan evokes a time, a place, and a band whose refusal to repress their difference could mean death, or become a catalyst for acts of creative genius that will make them immortal. --Mari Malcolm

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Short-listed for the Booker Prize, Canadian Edugyan’s second novel jumps between Berlin and Paris in 1939–40 and Berlin in 1992 to tell the story of a German American jazz band and its star trumpeter, Hieronymous Falk. Having hit it big during the Weimar era, the band—a mixture of expat African Americans and German jazz fanatics, including Falk, who is both black and a German (a mischling, or crossbreed, in the eyes of the Nazis)—now faces tough and increasingly dangerous times in the wake of Hitler’s ban against “degenerate music.” Drummer Chip Jones and bassist Sid Griffiths, both African Americans, escape to Paris, but Falk is arrrested in Berlin. Cut to 1992: the discovery of the band’s unreleased last recording, “Half-Blood Blues,” a jazz version of the “Horst Wessel Song,” the Nazi party anthem, has made a music legend of Falk, never heard from after the war and presumed dead, and has prompted a celebratory documentary, which will premier in Berlin. Edugyan tells this incredibly rich story of music, politics, and personal betrayal both subtly and dramatically, unveiling the mystery of what happened to Falk as she exposes the tensions between the band members and the secret that has been gnawing at one of them for half a century. Like Paule Marshall’s The Fisher King (2000), which tells a similar story of an expat jazzman and his troubled legacy, Edugyan’s novel mixes palpable period atmosphere with an interpersonal drama of great emotional depth. That narrow moment in time when the freewheeling decadence of Weimar Germany gave way to jackbooted tyranny has been the subject of much fine fiction, but Edugyan is the first to overlay it with jazz history. It makes a sublime marriage. --Bill Ott

Product Details

  • File Size: 1120 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (June 2, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054461GE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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