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Jazz [Paperback]

Toni Morrison
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Dec 2001

Joe Trace - in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband - shoots to death his lover of three months, impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas. At the funeral, his determined, hard-working wife, Violet - who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks - tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse.

Jazz is the story of a triangle of passion, jealousy, murder and redemption, of sex and spirituality, of slavery and liberation, country and city, of being male and female, African American, and above all being human.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099750910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099750918
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and Love. She has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.

Product Description

Review

"Jazz blazes with an intensity more usually found in tragic poetry of the past, not in fiction today.... Morrison's voice transcends colour and creed and she has become one of America's outstanding post-war writers... A great storyteller, her characters have amazing and terrible pasts - they must find them out, or be haunted by them" (Marina Warner Guardian)

"A masterpiece... A sensuous, haunting story of various kinds of passion... Mesmerizing" (Cosmopolitan)

"As rich in themes and poetic images as her Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved... Morrison conjures up the hand of slavery on Harlem's jazz generation. The more you listen, the more you crave to hear" (Glamour)

"The author conjures up worlds with complete authority and makes no secret of her angst at the injustices dealt to black women" (Edna O' Brien New York Times Book Review)

"Wonderful... A brilliant, daring novel... Every voice amazes" (Chicago Tribune)

Book Description

Jazz is spellbinding for the haunting passion of its profound love story, and for the bittersweet lyricism and refined sensuality of its powerful and elegant style.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
For many African-Americans, the period from 1860 through 1930 was a particularly challenging one. The formal slavery of the South transitioned into a vulnerable rural economic existence, dependent on the weather and the price of crops. The promise of the city lured many to leave their homes, and adopt city life-styles that put new social pressures on them and their relationships. Jazz tells this story through the microcosm of one marriage, that of Joe and Violet Trace.
Unlike many books about marriage, this one is a love story. Although it bears no relationship to any romance novel you have ever read, it reveals the way that the need for love develops from within each of us and allows us to grasp its potential when we respond to the yearnings of those we care about.
Music was important in the lives of many people during those years. Churches and music halls vied for the attention of most people in the cities. Jazz was a new influence, bursting on the scene with a combination of extreme freedom and mutual respect for the other players. In this book, jazz is represented both as a symbol of freedom and as a source of base impulses that can lead people astray. Ms. Morrison also pays homage to jazz by building her narrative around the individual stories of those involved taken in solitary order, much like the solos in a jazz piece. The narratives all weave together, but you have to hear the whole piece to understand how. Be patient with what seem like digressions. They are really transitions into new perspectives, like when a horn does a riff before returning to the theme.
You also get the metaphor of jazz used in the relationship of the two Traces. They were originally in rhythm with each other, then fell out of rhythm, and then regained their ability to improvise together.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
For many African-Americans, the period from 1860 through 1930 was a particularly challenging one. The formal slavery of the South transitioned into a vulnerable rural economic existence, dependent on the weather and the price of crops. The promise of the city lured many to leave their homes, and adopt city life-styles that put new social pressures on them and their relationships. Jazz tells this story through the microcosm of one marriage, that of Joe and Violet Trace.
Unlike many books about marriage, this one is a love story. Although it bears no relationship to any romance novel you have ever read, it reveals the way that the need for love develops from within each of us and allows us to grasp its potential when we respond to the yearnings of those we care about.
Music was important in the lives of many people during those years. Churches and music halls vied for the attention of most people in the cities. Jazz was a new influence, bursting on the scene with a combination of extreme freedom and mutual respect for the other players. In this book, jazz is represented both as a symbol of freedom and as a source of base impulses that can lead people astray. Ms. Morrison also pays homage to jazz by building her narrative around the individual stories of those involved taken in solitary order, much like the solos in a jazz piece. The narratives all weave together, but you have to hear the whole piece to understand how. Be patient with what seem like digressions. They are really transitions into new perspectives, like when a horn does a riff before returning to the theme.
You also get the metaphor of jazz used in the relationship of the two Traces. They were originally in rhythm with each other, then fell out of rhythm, and then regained their ability to improvise together.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By hersh
Format:Paperback
For those who read Morrison's BELOVED, this book is a must read.JAZZ is about Black culture, though nowhere we are openly told so.Those who know anything about Jazz music, know how much influenced it is by the Black culture.It is their voice, so is the narrative voice in this book,though it is hard in first go to come to any referential similarity between the music and the book.It is a brilliant experiment in post colonial, postmodern fiction.The layers of narrative cutting and underminig each other as the book progresses, the abrupt pauses between unumbered chapters, and the strange very last paragraph where narrator talks to the reader and make the reader conscious about the act of reading-these all points i found really interesting myself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. It raises difficult questions about identity and freedom yet in spite of its moral complexity includes some of the most moving passages I've read.
Whilst the narrative style requires concentration and engagement, preseverance is well rewarded. The last pages stand on their own as a profound meditation on love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Masterpiece 19 July 2008
By Ems
Format:Paperback
My favourite book of all time

I was lucky enough to study this book during 6th form college with a good teacher. Instead of butchering its beauty she illuminated it; leading us through the more complex prose (their beauty all more appreciated due to a deeper level of understanding) and highlighting some of the more obscure elements that might have gone unnoticed (or perhaps not understood).

At 16, though not niave, I was perhaps unaware of the many elements and angles of understanding related to racism, especially in America (which seemed a world far removed). But there is much more to Morrison's Jazz than American prose. Unlike so many others, that parade the usual melting pot, American Dream, Racism themes, Morrison examines human relationships in a real and down to earth way.

Having finished the book I walked around in a daze for a couple of days reconsidering almost everything I had previously thought (that is no overstatement). Though some obvious questions are raised (especially the lives of afro-Americans), I did not meditate on racism or poverty but rather relationships and the ties between human beings.

Im not sure if it was because of the time of my life that i read it, or whatever but to me Jazz spoke volumes.

This book really is amazing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
A beautifully written book full of characters who stay in your mind for long after you reach the end of the book.
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Jane A. Leach
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless
Well it came on time and in perfect condition so i have no complaints. I recommend it - Price wasn't bad either really.
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by CharlieD
4.0 out of 5 stars That's the kick
I had to read this for A Level English and at first I found it almost impossible to get into. A lot of it tends to go over your head but as you keep reading and get to the end,... Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2008 by T. Par
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from this over-rated stream of consciousness rubbish
I like an original and unique book as much as the next man, but this is just plain awful. I can't stand the way it is written, the characters names, the ridiculously dull story... Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2008 by Mr. D. C. Hayes
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm strong. Alone, yes, but top notch and indestructible, like the...
Set primarily in Harlem in 1926, when jazz was bursting forth from the traditions of gospel and blues, this 1992 novel is one of Morrison's most experimental and least accessible. Read more
Published on 21 April 2008 by Mary Whipple
4.0 out of 5 stars Symphonic lyricism
As a child of fine artists and a classical and jazz musician, I had no idea or understanding as to why many of the churches- from the turn of the century to almost the present day... Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2002 by Earl Hazell
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
The book is rhythmically excellent, its narritive entwining the stories of the characters as effortlessy as Jazz music entwines chords. Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good tantalising book
I was given the first two chapters to read as an example of AAVE literature, and found myself then looking all over to find a copy of the actual book so that I could get to read it... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2000
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