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Jazz (The Trilogy #2)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  15,535 Ratings  ·  768 Reviews
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled f ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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Hana Alharastani The order is Beloved, Jazz, and then Paradise. They're on my reading list for this summer. :)
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The protagonist wasn't white
173rd out of 222 books — 21 voters
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28th out of 70 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Maggie Campbell
Sep 15, 2008 Maggie Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...and when she got back to her apartment she took the birds from their cages and set them out the windows to freeze or fly, including the parrot that said, 'I love you.'"

"Maybe she thought she could solve the mystery of love that way. Good luck and let me know."

" have to be clever to figure out how to be welcoming and defensive at the same time. When to love something and when to quit. If you don't know how, you can end up out of control or controlled by some outside thing..."

"You are th
Mar 04, 2008 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2009 brian rated it liked it
Recommended to brian by: alisa
jazz. the 3rd morrison in my plan to knock ‘em all out over the next month or so…significantly weaker than the other two i’ve read, but still... it’s almost a shame that morrison writes about such incendiary and zeitgeisty stuff as you pull back much of the (mostly) nonsensical cultural criticism that surrounds her, her work, and her readers and she’s just a first class storyteller. just a great, great writer. amongst all the tragedy and despair, there’s a joyfulness in the work (and, for me, on ...more
Feb 04, 2009 Hollis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Just as 'Beloved' dealt with maternal love, in this work Morrison turns to jealousy and romantic love and produces another brilliant novel: poetic, vivid, sensual. Looking at the negative comments that some of the reviewers have given I think they mainly boil down to the effect that Morrison is difficult to read. If you're not willing to put in some effort and to actually use your imagination, then you had better return this to the book-store and swap it for that Stephen King novel you had your ...more
Mar 31, 2009 Sandi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Toni Morrison. Beloved is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time. My first Morrison, The Bluest Eye, took me by surprise with it's power. I appreciated the rhythm of Jazz, but couldn't connect to the story.
Suzanne Moore
This is my second Toni Morrison book, consumed audio-style. I love her lyrical imagery, but as I said with my last Morrison book, "Beloved," I think this is one to READ again.

Joe and Violet, the aging couple have lived through hard times and a childless marriage. Violet's miscarriges have left her distant and empty. This leads Joe into temptation ... looking for a woman's attention and sense of love. Enter Dorcas, a young girl who is easily seduced, maybe flattered herself by the attentions of
Here we have a rather twisted love triangle consisting of Joe and Joe's wife, Violet (often referred to as Violent due to some of her actions), and Joe's young lover, Dorcas. The narrative has more to do with jazz than the actual story, in that it flows musically (yet discordantly at times), reminiscent of jazz/blues music. Jumping from 1920s Harlem to the antebellum South, there is an exceptional amount of history in this rather small book.

I felt rather disconnected from the story itself, never
Ems Dawson
Mar 02, 2011 Ems Dawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books 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 rela
May 18, 2011 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jazz is the story of a couple living in Harlem during the Jazz Age, and by the "Jazz Age" I don't mean F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age--it is anything but that. Joe and Violet's relationship is virtually falling apart, due to some adultery and murder, which makes for a juicy start to the story. Morrison then takes us on a journey back a few generations, where we see that Joe and Violet's stormy relationship is the cause of generations worth of disfunction. It's a fascinating study of "the sins of ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-studies
Anyone who has been through adversity knows the view. It’s that view of life stripped down to nothing but the basic. All you’re left with is your breath, and sometimes that feels like it’s slipping away. But you still have something, even if it’s ugly, even if it has no map, even if no one cares. What happens next is a choice. You can choose to take the basics of life that are left and build around them. What you weave becomes something on your terms. Why else does adversity create some of the b ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Aug 10, 2015 Roger DeBlanck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
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, as she offers readers a maze of narratives that stretch out like branches but always remain connected to the tree. Alternating between the country and the city, between the past and the present, Jazz tells the story of Joe and ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-fiction
My 18 year old son asked me what my favorite book is. I responded as I have to this question when put to me for the past 20 years-Jazz, by Toni Morrison. His is The Great Gatsby. I told him that I really did not like Gatsby. This got me thinking. I read Gatsby in high school, over 30 years ago. Would my impressions stay the same over time? I have never reread a book-life is too short and there is too much to read as it is. Since they are short books, I reread both. First, Gatsby. My impressions ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of Morrison's 10 novels this is the 7th I've read, and though I believe she ranks with Melville, O'Connor, Faulkner, and DeLillo as the five truly great fiction writers this country has ever produced, I ended up viewing this book as quite mediocre. This is a shame, as the first half was at a 4.25 star level, with a very Morrisonesque love story of a salesman, his beautician wife, and the young woman who is loved and then murdered by the former before being stabbed at her own funeral by the latte ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I laughed but before I could agree with the hairdressers that she was crazy, she said, 'What's the world for if you can't make it up the way you want it?'
"'The way I want it?'
"'Yeah. The way you want it. Don't you want it to be something more than what it is?'
"'What's the point? I can't change it.'
"'That's the point. If you don't, it will change you and it'll be your fault cause you let it. I let it. And messed up my life.'
"'Messed it up how?'
"'Forgot it.'
"'Forgot it was mine. My life
The language of this book is so beautiful, which makes an interesting counter-point to the lives of the characters which often are so far from beautiful. The structure of the narrative can feel a little disjointed at times as Morrison jumps from time to time, narrator to narrator. Despite this she weaves a moving tale with light and shade like the eponymous music for which the story is named. I highly recommend the audiobook, which for me really made the poetry and rhythm of the words more appar ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Holly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-novels

Overview: Joe Trace is a middle aged married man (Violet, wife) who has an affair with an 18 year old Dorkas and shoots her over anguish of her breaking up with him.

Characters: The first half of the book looked at Violet and touched on the affair and general growing up aspects in what I would call a simple to read type writing. However, the second half of the book was almost written by a different author. I actually had to read 10% of the book again because I had difficulty understandin
mark monday
Sep 02, 2013 mark monday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
got lost in all the lovely words, loved getting lost. minor note but major emotions. narrative glides down perfect prose pathways and through poetic passages to different destinations, into one mind and out of another, into many minds, past future past future, man. who knows where the next road goes, probably somewhere bad, tragedy and bloodshed and murder and all kinds of fucked up and twisted emotions, but it all reads so pretty. can I understand such things? I don't know but I can try. this i ...more
The music happens in the background… while the folks are front and centre, every blemish inside and out on view, though modestly shaded and wrapped in gentlest understanding. Part of that understanding is history, not excavated, but unfurled or traced carefully with one finger, because it is still alive and hurting. Kinship structures the story, which curls around time, helical, branching... it is a sinewy vine, hacked at in places yet blossoming out, covering itself with fresh, lush, resurgent ...more
Momina Masood
“We born around the same time, me and you,” said Violet. “We women, me and you. Tell me something real. Don’t just say I’m grown and ought to know. I don’t. I’m fifty and I don’t know nothing. What about it? Do I stay with him? I want to, I think. I want... well, I didn't always... now I want. I want some fat in this life.”

“Wake up. Fat or lean, you got just one. This is it.”

“You don’t know either, do you?”

“I know enough to know how to behave.”

“Is that it? Is that all it is?”

Perhaps, someo
Oct 18, 2014 Ayah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
jazz is a genre of music that originated in African- American communities during the last 19th and early 20th century.

طبعا هذا ليس بحثا في تاريخ موسيقا الجاز، كنت أريد أن اجد تحقيبا سريعا لهذا النوع من الموسيقا .
بداية توني موريسون الحائزة على جائزة نوبل للآداب عام 1993. استفزت في شيئا ما حتى أقبلت على قراءتها ، إذ لست من أولئك الذين يصادقون على أي عمل لمجرد نيله جائزة عالمية .
قيل عن هذا السرد إنه سرد متوتر صاخب، إن رواية لا تتجاوز 160 صفحة ترهق بهذا الشكل هي رواية تستحق بضع كلمات و إن كانت لا تج
Apr 21, 2015 Trudy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-challenge
Audio version. I listened to this book once and then immediately began again. I loved Toni's voice and the good jazz music infused through the novel, however that is only part of my reason for rereading. I needed to listen twice to even begin to comprehend the depth of the issues presented here. I read this book as a young woman , but did not understand it at all and as a result found it very difficult to read. Even now, it is not an easy read, an extremely beautiful read, but not easy.
The th
Daniel Chaikin
hmm. This is the first Morrison book I haven't loved. I have read all her books published prior to this, and every single one left me with so much to think about, whether I wanted to or not. They tend to bring up so much to be curious about or deeply uncomfortable about, books I have been so glad to read. This one, it's a complex work with a lot going on, but it didn't have much magic for me. It kind of lied flat on the page.

The story is based on a true detail Morrison came across in 1920's Har
Daniel Clausen
Jul 16, 2015 Daniel Clausen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It’s a mature book in every way. Perhaps older and less ambitious than Beloved or other of Toni Morrison’s books. The maturity really shines in the later chapters where we get to know the narrator and the relationship between Joe and Violent in more depth. We don’t need an explosive end, only to know that life moves on in rhythms and rhymes we -- as authors and readers -- don’t completely understand.

I was convinced that the narrator was another personality of Violet -- that the narrator lived i
Toni Morrison wrote a trilogy exploring African-American history through three crucial periods. The brilliant Beloved was in slavery times. The third book, Paradise, I don't know about - 50s? - I haven't read it yet. And Jazz tackles the Harlem Renaissance, which is very exciting to me because that was an awesome time and place.

My issue is that it doesn't actually spend very much time in Harlem in the 20s. Morrison is interested in the Great Migration - the process by which all these black peopl
2 stars

"I'm crazy about this City. Daylight slants like a razor cutting the buildings in half. In the top half I see looking faces and it's not easy to tell which are people, which the work of stonemasons. Below is a shadow where any blasé thing takes place: clarinets and lovemaking, fists and the voices of sorrowful women. A city like this one makes me dream tall and feel in on things."

Oh, how I adore the lyricism of Toni Morrison. I have had Jazz on my shelf for quite some time now, and follow
Dec 30, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to complain about anything in a Morrison book; she may be the clear and away best American writer of all time. Such superlatives, in most cases, are often hysterical, but, as I've said, it's hard to make a complaint against her writing. I give four stars only because Jazz isn't the best in her bibliography. If it was in anyone else's, of course, it would have six stars.

A beautiful string of seemingly disconnected vignettes that converge ball-of-string style to emphasize the sensitivity
Sahar Goudarzi
Apr 29, 2016 Sahar Goudarzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
او را می شناسم. با دسته ای پرنده در خیابان لینوکس زندگی می کرد. شوهرش را هم می شناسم. عاشق دختری هجده ساله شد. عشقش چنان عمیق و جن زده بود که هم غمگینش می کرد و هم شاد, طوری که عاقبت برای حفظ این احساس او را با تیر زد! وقتی همسرش – اسمش ویولت است – به مراسم تشییع جنازه رفت تا دخترک را ببیند و صورت بی جانش را ببرد, پرتش کردند روی زمین و از کلیسا بیرون انداختند.بعد, از میان آن همه برف دوید و وقتی به آپارتمانش رسید, پرنده ها را از قفس درآورد و از پنجره آزاد کرد ؛ یا باید یخ می زدند یا پرواز می کردن ...more
Jun 30, 2016 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american

“I’m crazy about this City. Daylight slants like a razor cutting the buildings in half. In the top half I see looking faces and it’s not easy to tell which are people, which the work of stonemasons. Below is shadow were any blasé thing takes place: clarinets and lovemaking, fists and the voices of sorrowful women. A city like this one makes me dream tall and feel in on things. Hep. It’s the bright steel rocking above the shade below that does it.”- Toni Morrison, Jazz

Wynston Marsalis said, “Jaz
رغد قاسم
هذهِ الرواية تمثل صدمة جمالية، جمال لا عهد لي بهِ في كل ما قرأتهُ سابقاً، جمالٌ قادم ٌ من البشاعة والقسوة في الحياة، قسوة تم الإعتياد عليها بشكل لا يُفهم، لا أحد يفهم كمّ ما يتحمله الإنسان، ما تحمله العرق الأسود بالذات من الإضطهاد.
هناك أيضاً ما يُميز هذا الكاتبة، هذهِ التوني موريسون العظيمة؛ وهو أسلوبها السردي بدمج حكايات الشخصيات والتلاعب بحرفية في السرد وصوت السارد.
توني موريسون تنسج خلال هذا التلاعب حكاية العِرق الأسود، نسجاً موسيقياً، بموسيقى تجعلك تركض وراء الحكاية ركضاً ومهما كانت أذنك ال
Shinjini Dey
Cities for the telling, details from Morrison.
In love that gazes and is gazed upon, that curdles and lies wasting in the longing and heat. In fast whispers and subsumed anger, in conditional jealousy of the woman meets man meets another woman so now who fights for whom? Which love do you save with the condition that it will save you?
I do not trust love that molts you, that gives you new skin, that drags a mirror over your face so you recognize yourself in tokens.
(Is this mine? Is this mine?)
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Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best k
More about Toni Morrison...

Other Books in the Series

The Trilogy (3 books)
  • Beloved (The Trilogy, #1)
  • Paradise (The Trilogy, #3)

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“Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it.” 674 likes
“Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweettooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder.
And I the eye of the storm.”
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