Celebrated trumpeter Joss Moody has died and the jazz world is in mourning. But in death, Joss can no longer guard the secret he kept all his life, and Colman, his adoring son, must confront the truth: the man whom he believed to be his father was, in fact a woman.
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"It was our secret. That's all it was. Lots of people have secrets, don't they? The world runs on secrets. What kind of place would the world be without them? Our secret was harmless. It did not hurt anybody."
The secret that Millicent Moody, widow of jazz great Joss Moody, refers to may have been harmless in life, but when Joss dies and the truth is exposed, it ends up affecting more people than she ever imagined. It gives nothing away to reveal right off that Millicent's late husband was, in fact, a woman--something Millie has known all along but that the Moodys' adopted son, Colman, only discovers after his father's death. Titillating as the subject matter initially seems, in Jackie Kay's capable hands Joss's gender-bending becomes almost a side issue in a novel that is, at its heart, concerned with the essential nature of love.
Kay tells her story from many different perspectives--the doctor who signs the death certificate, the mortician who prepares the body, the opportunistic biographer looking to make a buck and a name for herself, the musicians who knew Joss--but it is Millicent and Colman who bear the brunt of both the pain and the responsibility for telling the tale. Millie Moody is a tremendously sympathetic character; her love for Joss is so powerful, so right that the reader never questions the decisions this odd couple made in life. "I didn't feel like I was living a lie," Millie tells us. "I felt like I was living a life." Colman, on the other hand, is more difficult to like. Though it's easy to understand his anger and confusion upon suddenly learning that the man he regarded as his father for 30 years was actually a woman, one also has the sneaking suspicion that he wasn't a particularly lovable guy before the revelation, either. Still, by the end of Trumpet, there's hope for Colman, peace of mind for Millie, and a satisfying rendering of love in all its permutations for the reader. --Alix WilberFrom the Publisher:
Kay spins a love story, a fairy tale and a psychological thriller out of one deep secret. She has a great gift for delving inside sundry souls, making poetry of their quirks. At its best, her prose ripples like jazz, and brims with exquisite insights.
-- Andrea Ashworth, author of Once in a House on Fire
"It has a humanity and sympathy which engaged me from start to finish. And its energy and directness made it a treat to read. . . .Her book [makes] us see that people apparently very unlike ourselves are in fact very much like ourselves. . . Love is not usually such a triumphant idea in modern writing, but I think Jackie Kay makes it believably and vividly so."
-- Ian Jack, Granta
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Book Description Pantheon Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0330331450I5N00
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # TT01131210B
Book Description Pantheon Books, 1998. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP61964431
Book Description Picador, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # 3426-9780330331456
Book Description Picador, London, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. Fine, unread copy in fine dj w/ minor wrinkle at head of spine. | Well-received first novel, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize & the Author's Club First Novel Prize. Laid in is a publicity postcard reproducing the book's dustjacket illustration on one side and with brief note from the book's publisher on the other. Bookseller Inventory # 005183