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The Jazz Palace: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 7, 2015
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"Fluid and poetical ... With brio, Morris creates music on the page."
—New York Times Book Review
“The Jazz Palace encompasses the seismic shifts of turbulent decades, the early 20th century in Chicago. It gives us the breakups and reconfigurations of immigrant families, the beat-downs and triumphs of struggling outsiders ... One of the novel’s pleasures is the skill with which Morris glides from fictional to actual events of World War I or Prohibition. As she colors in the background, she never neglects the drama ... The Jazz Palace understands what great things come from staying light on your feet."
"Not only does Morris, rhapsodically fluent in the liberating innovations of jazz, vividly convey the passion to make music that rules the precarious lives of Benny and Napoleon. She also turns this tale of brutal hardships and stubborn dreams into a lush, swirling, evocative jazz composition, in which she sensitively depicts a city-in-flux shaped by poverty and romance, immigrants and migrants, anti-Semitism and racism, visionaries and gangsters. A graceful and involving affirmation of the transcendent power of art."
—Booklist, starred review
“Through the eyes of immigrants and gangsters, blacks and whites, the dreamers and those who have lost themselves, Morris sings us the story of Chicago at the start of the 20th century, underscored by the rise of jazz. There is a reason I have always called Mary Morris my writing mentor: she taught me everything I know; and here is the living proof.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Leaving Time
“As The Jazz Palace moves cinematically from tenements to saloons to speakeasies, Mary Morris weaves true events into the fabric of her riveting story of three people linked by tragedy and catapulted into a world beyond their wildest imaginings. As her tale unfolds, we know that we are in the hands of a master.” —Christina Baker Kline, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Train
“In this incandescent tour-de-force, Mary Morris takes us on a riveting journey that soars and tugs on our heartstrings just as if it were music itself.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Family History and Still Writing
“In The Jazz Palace, Mary Morris has written an exquisite love letter to her home town, Chicago. And yet the book transcends time and place. This is history in real time, and the novel is packed with so much love, heartbreak, endurance—and yet is remarkably compressed. Benny, the jazz piano player, is a character you'll root for and remember.” —Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love
“The Jazz Palace is a sweeping tribute, a jazz ode, by a wonderful writer to her native city.” —Valerie Martin, author of Property and The Ghost of the Mary Celeste
"The Jazz Palace is both a love song to Chicago and to a particular time and place when music drew race lines, Al Capone ruled the city, and young girls dreamed of dancing away to a better life. As inventive and surprising as a jazz composition, each indelible character struggles to improvise a life worth living. Haunting and dreamlike, there is no other word for this novel but masterpiece." —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
About the Author
Mary Morris is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the novels A Mother’s Love and House Arrest, and nonfiction, including the travel memoir classic Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone. The recipient of the Rome Prize in literature and a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, she was raised in Chicago and now lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
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Top customer reviews
I liked the fictional characters and also the real people who lived at that time. I'm glad Pearl and Benny got together in the end. The author must have done a lot of research on what kind of music was being played at that time
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