Esi Edugyan, "Half Blood Blues" [Audiobook, Unabridged]
Whole Story | 2011 | ISBN: 1407490222 | MP3@48 kbps | 11 hrs 10 mins | 230.06 MB
Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues is an authentic and moving depiction of a group of jazz musicians left in limbo in pre-WW2 Berlin and Paris. The author has obviously invested a great deal of time in researching the realities of being struggling jazz musicians at that time, as well as the argot unique to the musicians. Her dialog always seems spot on, never forced, never contrived. Unlike some novels set in the milieu of jazz, Ms. Edugyan never strives to appear cool, but instead creates characters with individuated, unique voices. I would also imagine that she has a healthy respect for the arduous process of creating meaningful music.
The novel is basically about a group of struggling musicians, German and American. None of them have achieved commercial success, but are well regarded within their world. One of them, Hieronymus - Hiero - is clearly a superior musician. They record some sides of various tunes they're working on, but none meet the satisfaction of Hiero, who insists that all the acetates be destroyed. Unbeknownst to him, the bass player, recognizing the quality of the recording, secretly withholds one of the records. It's not till many decades later that the recording is widely circulated, giving the remaining musicians a modicum of fame and respect from jazz cognocenti.
The novel is given resonance through its setting - the horrors of the Nazi years are just over the horizon. The novel gains gravitas through depicting the daily privations of the musicians through the prism of the encroaching Nazi dominance, both in Berlin and Paris. It also concerns itself with the unique status of Hiero, German born, and of African descent, as well as that of the pianist, Paul, a German Jew.
Superbly written, gripping, with the alluring, at times chilling, backdrop of the pre-war years, as well as a believable plot twist, Half-Blood Blues,like the best novels, seems too real to be imagined. Highly recommended. - review from AmazonFileSonic | FilePost