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Pork Pie Hat

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  198 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
When a graduate student with a passion for jazz arrived in New York to discover that a legendary saxophonist he had assumed long dead is not only still alive but playing in an East Village club, he spends night after night in awe-struck attendance.And when the legend grants him an interview on Halloween, he jumps at the opportunity. What unfolds is an endless night filled ...more
Published January 1st 2000 by ISIS Audio Books
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Nov 27, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very simple story that might have been too slow in another writer's hands. The narrator meets a jazz musician of uncommon talent and persuades him to do an interview. In that interview, the musician, known as "Pork Pie Hat," reveals a horrific experience that he had when he was eleven. Further investigation turns up that some of Hat's story was true, but not all, and what was left out is probably more horrific than what was revealed.

I read this pretty much in one sitting. It's a short novella
This is the first Straub I've read. Picked it out on a whim, thought it would be more connected to jazz. Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat is such a beautiful wistful and melancholy tune. I'm not sure if Straub wanted to catch the mood of that Mingus tune with this book. If so, I am only halfway convinced he did. Certainly not in writing style. Perhaps in story line.

After hearing Hat, a jazz saxophonist, play in a small NY club, the narrator can find little written record about him and sets out to intervie
Oct 29, 2010 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read this quite some time ago, though I couldn't tell you how. It might have been in Cemetery Dance Magazine—hell, it might have been an audio title. But I remember it.

Straub tells a story of a man who plays tenor sax like it's playing him, and drinks gin as casually as breathing air.

The voice for the story is a man who discovers Hat, this musician, and in looking into him discovers there isn't much out there about the man. So he sets out to interview Hat.

During the interview, he realizes
Clay Stafford
From our 2012 Killer Nashville Guest of Honor Peter Straub, but that is not why I chose it. It’s one of my favorite books, which just happens to be written by Straub. This is literature and mystery at its finest. Something happened, we don’t know what it was, then over the course of the narrator’s lifetime, he uncovers the truth. I love the way Straub handles multiple plot requirements on the way to the end, leading us down one false path and then another. The ending – even the storytelling itse ...more
Feb 22, 2015 Joel rated it it was amazing
I've never been disappointed by anything of Peter Straub's, and this is no exception. A great little read.
M. D'Angelo
Sep 17, 2014 M. D'Angelo rated it liked it
This is a slim volume which is one of the reasons I read it - I am so distracted these days. I'm also a big fan of jazz music, jazz musicians, and the Age of Jazz - and all these things, coupled with the fact I enjoy the works of Peter Straub, led me to read PORK PIE HAT.

As a fellow author, I sometimes key into the motivations of other authors and why they pen a certain work. I have a hunch that Straub is a fan of jazz music as I am, and it's great to write something steeped in the music redolen
Alison C
Pork Pie Hat is a novella from Peter Straub, recently reissued by Cemetery Dance Publications in a handsome hardcover illustrated edition. The story involves an old jazz musician who goes by the name Pork Pie Hat, and a young graduate student who "discovers" Hat's brilliant saxophone playing and decides to write a definitive biography of the man. He does this by interviewing Hat over one very long night, but the story Hat wants to tell isn't about music at all; instead it has to do with events t ...more
Oct 25, 2015 Samantha rated it it was ok
Shelves: ficton, 2015
2.5 stars

Some people really enjoy ambiguity in their stories. These same people love to then spend hours discussing all the possible maybes. I think these people might spend a good portion of their time high, as that's the only way such an activity would come close to being enjoyable. As you may have surmised, I am not one of those people, and this is definitely a story for those people. The ambiguity seems like a cop out. So while the writing was okay (if paced borderline excruciatingly slow) t
Sep 30, 2010 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: straub
this one came in the september 30th. read a few pages. hardcover. there's a few illustrations.Jill 2010 bout Hat.
"he was like someone who had passed through a great mystery, who was passing through a great mystery, and had to speak of what he had seen, what he was seeing."

okay. neato. mystery. yeah, you bet. that sounds familiar. i expect that, looking forward to the rest of the story. i just read straub's a special place, the heart of a dark matter.

onward and upward.

later that e
Sean Cisneros
Jan 10, 2015 Sean Cisneros rated it really liked it
I first read this story in a book of Straubs short stories and I liked it . I then read it a second time in a short book and loved it . Anything having to do with Jazz always catches my interest and this book really caught my interest and admiration .
I wasn't really impressed with this book. Beginning didn't have much of anything to do with the majority of the remainder...and the narrator's confusion over a story that seems pretty obvious is a little irritating. It's a fast read, though.
Jul 25, 2008 John rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully dark novella. A college student in NYC interviews an ageing jazz veteran, Hat, who relates a thrilling and horrifying story from his childhood in a black community in Mississippi in the early 20th century. This recollection alone is gripping enough, but the final few pages of the book, wherein the narrator uncovers certain lacunae in Hat’s story that force you to reexamine everything you have read, imbues his recollection with new and frightening layers of meaning.

But, hai
I think I understood what happened...oh, who am I kidding. I even read the ending twice. I might get the gist, but the number of players comes out wrong and what's this about a minister? Huh? *sigh*
Ashley Schurtz
Jun 04, 2015 Ashley Schurtz rated it it was amazing
I read this book aloud and at times I felt the rhythm reminiscent of beat poetry. I love the narrative and piecing together the mystery of the white man in the woods.
Jan 06, 2016 Antonio rated it liked it
Didn't much care for it. I found it hard to get into. It was a fast and easy read, but I felt, it lacked a certain element that catches your attention.
It was good and atmospheric. I love jazz and had hoped a little that the story would be about Hat's prodigious talent as a musician (a clever take on the Faustian bargain) or even why he was so eccentric. Three and a half stars.
Brian Fagan
Mar 16, 2014 Brian Fagan rated it it was ok
very slight story but even at its shortened length still felt over written
Mar 30, 2014 Erich rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Ghost Story?
Dec 15, 2010 Elli rated it really liked it
A very good novellette. The main character makes a chance for an interview with a legendary character who is an incredible musician with a personal life that has long since gone down the tubes. Turns out as a child he witnessed something horrible which left it's indelible imprint! Gradually what happened becomes clear, some through the eyes of others who knew "Hat," and through the protagonist's researching of old newspapers of the period.
Only 141 pages this book is a quick read. The Book centers on a Jazz sax player who as a child saw a horrible event on Halloween night. Now as an adult he recounts this event during an interview.
Lou Sytsma
May 21, 2013 Lou Sytsma rated it really liked it
Peter Straub is a gifted writer who knows not only what to put into a story but what to leave out for the reader to ponder over. This is another example of that unique talent in a novella length ghost story.

What starts out as a story about a man's curiosity about a jazz saxophone player turns into a ghost story which became the catalyst for the sax player's career.

Adroitly done.
Jan 13, 2011 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short novella about a Jazz musician and a fan who interviews him is one of those moody, creepy Halloween stories that sticks with you after you read it. The plot is subtle, and I think a re-reading would reveal layers not obvious at first.

Well worth the time. I believe the story has been published elsewhere in a collection -- possibly OCTOBER DREAMS?
James Campbell
Jan 08, 2013 James Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a short book, and a quick read. It had a very easy to read narration type style by the main character.

The subject of the book Pork Pie Hat takes the read on a short journey of events that haunted him in his younger years.

I would recommend this as a good Halloween read.
JoAnn Jordan
This is a very short novel or novella about a jazz musician. The story is quite good. What happened on Halloween in Hat's childhood changed his whole life.

I liked this book but did not find it outstanding. It might be enjoyable to someone who enjoys haunted stories.
Nov 18, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a Halloween night when two children dress in their ghost costumes go out beyond the city limits and into the Backs as it was called. What they saw in the Backs would haunt them for the rest of their life's. This a different twist for Peter Straub.
Angie crosby
This was a good, entertaining story. I saw the ending to the story when Hat finished with his halloween story. Not a ghost
Story at all.

A man telling another about when he lost his innocence. When he ceased being a little boy.

Rose Beyke
Mar 27, 2012 Rose Beyke rated it it was amazing
I like a good ghost story and love jazz so it was a hit. Or was it a ghost story? Memories are scarier than haints sometimes. I won this in a blog contest but will pick up another of his books sometime. Thanks for the introduction.
Feb 07, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
A haunting interview done well in the Straub style. Great character in Hat. Living the past with those demons held close. A great read.
Oct 18, 2010 Cory rated it really liked it
A nice quick read that has some memorable moments and a story that will make you wonder...
Kevin Lucia
Oct 28, 2012 Kevin Lucia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful little Halloween read. As always, reading Straub is like drinking fine wine.
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
More about Peter Straub...

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