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on 3 August 2012
Trumpet begins with quite a shock. A woman is hiding away from journalists who want to know more about the death of her husband, Joss Moody. He was a famous trumpet player and he had a secret. Millie knew her husband's secret all along but no one else did. It was something that they both kept from the world. Joss Moody was actually a woman and dressed and acted as a man for most of his life. The book starts with a very strong sense of grief, especially as Millie is struggling so much without her husband. It really saddened me to see her struggle in such a way and for the journalists to not leave her alone. I wanted to bang on the window and tell them to F Off!

The whole book isn't told from the view of Millie Moody though. We also get to hear from Joss's son, Coleman, an author who is trying to write a book about Joss and various friends and family members. While the change of voice was quite strange at times, it helped me to understand Joss as a person much better. The only person who truly understood Joss was his wife so through these other characters, their confusion, anger and sadness explored. Coleman especially had such a strong voice because of how angry he was when he found out the truth about his father. I loved reading his chapters and seeing how his reactions changed.

Obviously, as well as tackling the subject of grief, Trumpet is mainly about gender and identity. I wished that we could have heard from Joss himself, to have gotten to know what his life was like. However, I think that the other character's thoughts did the situation justice when it came to not understanding something different. Jackie Kay really hits the nail on the head when she talks about people not accepting things they don't understand. Because of this, it again made me feel sad for Millie as she had no one to talk to or to help her get through the grief.

Due to the subject of this book, there is bad language and a couple of slightly graphic scenes so it is not for younger readers. The language is used in exactly the right places though and only enhances the story. The language used at times helped to make certain character's anger and confusion and more prominent. I don't always think bad language in books in necessary but in this case, I think it was needed.
I really enjoyed reading Trumpet. It opened my eyes to something I hardly know anything about and it was also a very entertaining read.
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on 26 June 2017
Beautifully written but ultimately a bit unsatisfactory because the backstory was incomplete. Many unanswered questions - very poetic in that sense.
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on 17 April 2017
Very sensitive subject handed extremely well by Jackie Kay. Read this as part of my university syllabus but loved it all the same. Definitely recommend.
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on 3 December 2017
Like all Jackie Kays work.. Superb!
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on 11 November 2017
This story is so emotional and moving, it's beautiful!
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on 11 November 2017
This beautiful novel changed my perception of gender as well as painting a thoughtful picture of grief.
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on 21 August 2017
Great book, touching, beautifully written, explores and airs thorny issues.
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on 29 May 2017
Excellent product. Fast delivery.
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on 15 August 2017
It was a wonderful book, very emotional, very comical
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on 14 October 2000
Written mainly as a series of interior landscapes with relatively short sketches of the outside world in London and Scotland, the work stimulates your curiosity and engages your empathy. The focus of the story, Joss Moody, deceased trumpeter, appears largely and tantalisingly through others' eyes. This approach is no mere device, it is the point: what Joss meant to those who knew and loved him/her and how his "deception", as some define her/his secret, affects their loyalty and feelings for him/her.
A certain frustration may come from not having one's curiosity fulfilled about Joss's motivation for abandoning his life as the female Josephine. I also regret not witnessing more of Joss's mother's encounter with the adopted son, Colman. The book, though, is not an argument for transvestitism nor is it an apology, nothing so crude. The book is more a celebration, a song for that intangible in the human spirit that makes us feel we have experienced a unique relationship in knowing a particular individual. We are not presented with analysis of these experiences but, rather, the author plays each character's reflections much as Joss played his music. Indeed, Joss, though dead, is still very much alive not only in his recordings but also within those he loved. We too experience him/her in the sublime "Music" chapter where the soul of the novel and the soul of Joss meet in a poetic nexus.
By the end of the book, we have come to know Joss and his/her affect on people but s/he remains an enigma. The newspaper hack attempting to ghost-write Colman's "official biography" of Joss would doubtless produce a conclusive character portrait confidently separating appearance from reality and yet be a million miles from the truth. Kay instead leaves all judgements up to the reader who through her sensitive rendering feel not an impulse to judge but rather a reason to grieve.
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