Half-Blood Blues (Center Point Platinum Fiction (Large Print))

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9781611734218: Half-Blood Blues (Center Point Platinum Fiction (Large Print))
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Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young black trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris caf and never heard from again. Berlin, 1952. Falk is now a jazz legend, and the Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones 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 launching the two old musicians 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.

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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

About the Author:

Esi Edugyan has degrees from the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, written when she was 25, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. She currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia. www.esiedugyan.com

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