Jazz

Jazz

Book - 1992
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From Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison, a novel that 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.

It is winter, barely three days into 1926, seven years after Armistice; we are in the scintillating City, around Lenox Avenue, "when all the wars are over and there will never be another one...At last, at last, everything's ahead...Here comes the new. Look out. There goes the sad stuff. The bad stuff. The things-nobody-could-help stuff." But amid the euphoric decisiveness, a tragedy ensues among people who had train-danced into the City, from points south and west, in search of promise.

Joe Trace--in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband--shoots to death his lover of three months, impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas ("Everything was like a picture show to her"). At the funeral, his determined, hard-working wife, Violet, herself a hairdresser--who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks, and who talks mostly to birds--tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse.

In a dazzling act of jazz-like improvisation, moving seamlessly in and out of past, present, and future, a mysterious voice--whose identity is a matter of each reader's imagination--weaves this brilliant fiction, at the same time showing how its blues are informed by the brutal exigencies of slavery. Richly combining history, legend, reminiscence, this voice captures as never before the ineffable mood, the complex humanity, of black urban life at a moment in our century we assumed we understood.

Jazz is an unprecedented and astonishing invention, a landmark on the American literary landscape--a novel unforgettable and for all time.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
ISBN: 9780679411673
0679411674
9780394222820
0394222822
Characteristics: 229 p. ;,22 cm.

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p
Pathseeker
Dec 23, 2020

A stunning novel. She tells the whole plot in the first two pages, but I was still hooked for the entire book. The rhythm of the story matches the title and is just as intoxicating.

a
alfredfrenzel
Aug 03, 2020

elevate the ordinary to the sublime. - isabel wilkerson, author of caste

j
joianng
Sep 13, 2019

I finished Jazz by Toni Morrison and I feel so close to her lbs. it’s weird cause she was always the miserable depressed lady writer to me that you just supposed to read for the sake of being cultured and have stake in the black hoity toity literary world. Buhhhh SIS IS FUNNY ASFFF🤣Like I’ve always wanted to see the personality I got from her interviews in her books and this was the first taste of that. Becoming more familiar with her work I can find the common underlying threads of family and mental health and promiscuity among women. The story it’s self was wild. But it was so refreshing to hear her in this way. I feel like I just discovered my aunties’ old year book and found out she use to be a cheerleader or something. Ya kno?

RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Jazz is perhaps Morrison’s most unique and elusive novel. Nearly five years after winning the Pulitzer for Beloved and a year before she received the Nobel Prize, Jazz was published in 1992. The novel solidified Morrison’s reputation as a writer whose daring has no bounds. In this story, she offers readers a maze of narratives that branch out, but always remain connected like a tree. Alternating between the country and the city and between the past and the present, Jazz tells the story of Joe and Violet, a married couple trying to earn their living in New York City during the first quarter of the 20th century. A love affair and its fatal consequences mark the center of this torrid story that expands so far beyond its base of focus that it brings in an array of characters and themes that only the brilliance of Toni Morrison could hold together. What fuels jealousy and forgiveness? How does passion change one’s course of life? How does the past make us more or less human? Without ever using the word “jazz” within the novel, Morrison’s narrative is a harmonizing literary achievement, reminiscent of the raw textures of a jazz ensemble.

v
vv19
Jan 09, 2016

A narrative story where passion, love and time push the story forward. This novel was very thought out and keeps you guessing till the very end. Some parts of the book is written like poetry where you want to read the line over and over again. A great works of literature by a great writer.

k
KariGrace
Feb 23, 2015

"Later, and little by little, feelings, like sea trash expelled on a beach - strange and recognizable, stark and murky - returned."

from "Jazz" by Toni Morrison

Sometimes, one sentence is all you need.

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