Half Blood Blues: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011 Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A superbly atmospheric prologue kick-starts a thrilling story about truth and betrayal... [a] brilliant, fast-moving novel. (Kate Saunders Times 2011-08-27)
Assured, vivid and persuasive... Impressively evocative of period and place, and an effortlessly involving and dramatically unusual second novel. (Sharon O'Connell Time Out 2011-06-16)
Simply stunning, one of the freshest pieces of fiction I've read. A story I'd never heard before, told in a way I'd never seen before. I felt the whole time I was reading it like I was being let in on something, the story of a legend deconstructed. It's a world of characters so realized that I found myself at one point looking up Hieronymus Falk on Wikipedia, disbelieving he was the product of one woman's imagination (Attica Locke)
Edugyan really can write... redemptive (Bernadine Evaristo Guardian 2011-06-25)
Mesmerising... Edugyan has a perfect ear for conversations and the confusions of human love and jealousy... moving... A remarkable novel. (Morning Star 2011-07-21)
Ingenious... (Anthony Cummins Daily Telegraph 2011-08-06)
A mature, moving second novel was very deservedly shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this week... Half Blood Blues shines with knowledge, emotional insight, and historical revisionism, yet it never becomes over-burdened by its research. The novel is truly extraordinary in its evocation of time and place, its shimmering jazz vernacular, its pitch-perfect male banter and its period slang. Edugyan never stumbles with her storytelling, not over one sentence. (Arifa Akbar Independent 2011-09-09)
This is a wonderful, vibrant, tense novel about war and its aftermath. Its author has brought both the wartime past of a devastated city and its confident reinvention of itself in a new era to life with extraordinary assurance. (Susan Hill Man Booker Prize judge 2011-09-06)
Half Blood Blues shines with knowledge, emotional insight, and historical revisionism, yet it never becomes overburdened by its research. The novel is truly extraordinary in its evocation of time and places, its shimmering jazz vernacular, its pitch-perfect male banter and its period slang. (Canberra Times, Australia 2011-09-17)
Sid's voice... is a triumph of vernacular writing and convincingly captures the mood of the late jazz age in Europe... punchy and atmospheric. (Edmund Gordon Sunday Times 2011-09-25)
A story of friendship, betrayal and redemption, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011See all Product description
66 customer reviews
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Granted that I was always going to enjoy a book about one of my great passions, this novel is a hugely compelling story which will also appeal to those readers who do not appreciate jazz. The narrative is worthy of Dickens in the way that the two jive-talking protagonists constantly bicker amongst themselves and that you can quickly identify who is talking to whom. Chip and Sid always seem at each other's throat yet they clearly are unseparable. The supporting characters are also nicely defined with Louis Armstrong being portrayed as a larger than life character of whom all the musicians are in total awe. I felt that this book was extremely exciting as you wanted to know if all the characters would get out of Germany (and then France) in 1939 as well as finding out what happened to Heiro when Sid and Chip return to Europe for a jazz festival in 1992.
The amazing thing about this book is that the feel of the book is extremely authentic and Esi Edugyan's love of the music as well as her understanding of the practicioners shines through the pages. I loved reading the descriptions of the music being played which evoked for me some of the better passages of Ralph Berton's wonderful book about the legendary Bix Beiderbecke. In this respect, I felt Edugyan's writing is so strong that you can hear the music. It was a disappointment that "half Blood Blues" doesn't actually exist as , by the time you have finished the book, you really want to hear this record! The novel is enhanced by reference to genuine musicians such as Bill Coleman and the obscure Arthur Briggs - both of whom played trumpet like Heiro. Elsewhere, the description of the jazz festivals and the way that the music is promoted seems very credible from my own experiences of the same.
I found this book impossible to put down. Non-music fans will enjoy this book but jazz fans will reslish a novel that for once treats the music with respect and is not riddled with cliches about drink and drugs. Simply put, this book is a masterpiece and something of aa love letter to the music that shaped the 20th Century more than any other.
In Paris, 1941 Sidney Griffiths goes to buy cigarettes and have a glass of milk with fellow musician Hieronymus Falk, who is considered to be a musical genius. Problem is, Falk is black and when Sidney steps out to the toilet Falk is arrested by Nazi soldiers, he is deported and never seen again.
Flashforward some 50 years and Sidney Griffiths and childhood friend and fellow musician Chip Jones are old and enjoy something of a 'Buena Vista Social Club' style status. Jones persuades Sid, who lives quietly in Baltimore to attend a conference in Berlin celebrating Falk. Once there, he publicly accuses Sid of being to blame for what happened to Falk. But is he right?
I think my main problem with Half Blood Blues is that I struggled to engage with the characters, any of them, and whilst I saw merit in it, it wasn't really my cup of tea. The ending is also a bit quick, and a bit weak. The writing there could have used a strong flourish, an important closing statement, but it falls flat.
This is a short review because I just wasn't grabbed by this book and I can't think of many aspects I want to delve in and discuss. This book has strong reviews on Amazon but I'm afraid it just wasn't my scene. It may be to other peoples taste however
Oddly though, it is another story about making a selfish choice or mistake that then had massive repercussions for all those involved which has proved to be something of a theme for the Booker this year, alongside A Sense Of An Ending and A Cupboard Full Of Coats. This book has nothing on The Stranger's Child really, and I would have preferred to have seen that on the shortlist and not this. 6/10
I found the story of Sid and Chip's friendship, and the uneasy relationship between Sid and Hiero beautifully told and really quite touching.