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Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
by Esi Edugyan

Published: 2012-02-28
Paperback : 336 pages
4 members reading this now
10 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Man Booker Prize Finalist 2011
An Oprah Magazine Best Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young ...
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Introduction

Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Man Booker Prize Finalist 2011
An Oprah Magazine Best Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was twenty years old, a German citizen. And he was black.

Berlin, 1952. Falk is a jazz legend. Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, both African Americans from Baltimore, have appeared in a documentary about Falk. When they are invited to attend the film’s premier, Sid’s role in Falk’s fate will be questioned and the two old musicians set off on a surprising and strange journey.

From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world as he describes the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that led to Falk’s incarceration in Sachsenhausen. Half-Blood Blues is a story about music and race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

Editorial 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 â??kidâ?? who blows brilliant trumpet with a â??massive sound, wild and unexpected, like a thicket of flowers in a bone-dry field.â?? 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, Sidâ??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 thereâ??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

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by KisaVal (see profile) 11/11/20

 
  "half blood blues"by bhale (see profile) 07/30/12

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