Top critical review
Okay easy read. NB. Ali Smith introduction has a spoiler!
on 1 September 2017
The death of a legendary jazz trumpeter exposes a secret unknown to all but his wife. The novel shows the reactions of numerous people: the wife, the son, the mother, a journalist, an old school friend, a cleaner, and others who knew him only by repute. In my edition, there’s an introduction by Ali Smith, which I cursed, not for its pretentious hyperbole, but because, decrying a spoiler published elsewhere, she then repeated the spoiler, duh!
For a while, with all the different voices, I thought the book would just be variations (jazz improvisations) on a theme, and I wasn’t totally convinced by some of the characters, or by how the secret had gone undiscovered. But some of the characters are great, and gradually a story thread develops, and one of the characters grows and changes. I wouldn’t rush to recommend it, but if it sounds intriguing so far, then it’s an easy read and you may well enjoy it.