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Jazz (Toni Morrison Trilogy #2)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  13,644 ratings  ·  653 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
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Recorded Books (first published 1992)
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mark monday
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
Jan 15, 2009 brian rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ems Dawson
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
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
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
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.
Daniel Clausen

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
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
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
Maggie Campbell
"...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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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

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
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
"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
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
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
Roger DeBlanck
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
Paolo Gianoglio
Ho fatto fatica. Ho interrotto la lettura a metà e l’ho ripresa dopo alcuni mesi. La narrazione è quasi inesistente, la storia potrebbe essere sintetizzata in cinque righe. La prosa è complessa, a più voci, riprende i fatti e li reinterpreta con un nuovo punto di vista, incrocia commenti. Se è vero che la musica jazz nel libro compare poco e non sembra essere protagonista, invece la struttura del libro è una vera jam session, con tanti strumenti solisti che si amalgamano tra loro in un concerto ...more
Jazz has some of the most beautiful descriptive passages in contemporary American fiction. For all of the speakeasy sin and drama the novel focuses on, the ending is surprising, an utterly stirring and sublime aria about married love--a triumph of vision and lyrical eloquence. I like how the book functions as a rousing meditation on the gap between lazy-minded gossip and challenging truth. It's also quite memorable for its keen and lovely depiction of salient elements of the Harlem Renaissance a ...more
Stefania T.

Dovremmo avere una terra d'alberi,
alti alberi forti,
piegati al peso dei pappagalli ciarlieri
lucenti come il giorno,
e non questa terra dove gli uccelli son grigi.

Langston Hughes

Toni Morrison compie un trucco di magia: scrive in jazz. Trasforma la prosa in jazz ed il jazz in prosa.
Tutti gli spettatori sono ancora a bocca aperta, lo stupore allaga l'atmosfera: come ci è riuscita?

Sorprendente. Nella trama, nella prosa, nei personaggi, nei sentimenti.
Umana, profondamente umana (amore protesta rabbia
Most people would not select jazz as their favorite Morrison novel, but it's mine far and away. First, I prefer her novels in an urban setting to the ones int he country. Second, it's short. great writers are still better when they're forced to keep their stories to a reasonable length. And finally, the narrator of the story is the book itself, which is just plain cool. It's not obvious that this is the case, but when someone pointed it out to me i reread it, and there are clues here and there. ...more
Beautifully written, hard to follow though. I'll definitely read it again. I feel there's so much left to find between the lines.
Scott Middleton
With its swinging language, improvisational feel, and pumping sensuality, Jazz is an excellently-titled epic poem of the Great Migration. Jazz is full of vivid, multi-generational descriptions of the Reconstruction south and Jazz Age Harlem. Toni Morrison's compelling mix of anecdotes from 1920s New York City with late 19th century Virginia makes me question whether the math can even add up such that one character could have experienced both worlds. Turns out it does. In fact, the characters' si ...more
Jazz is a peculiar book because it is more a stylistic exercise than a regular novel. Morrison set out to create a work that would not just be about the jazz age, but actually become it; she did not design the novel’s structure to enhance meaning, but to equal it. Jazz is not a book you read for the plot (it’s all right there on the very first page, no twists beyond that point), but for the language, the rhythm pumping through the lines, the taste of it. In an interview with the Paris Review, Mo ...more
Joseph Sverker
Must. And I am now thinking of the undiluted and raw juice from the fruit. In Swedish, the adjective is 'musty,' but that of course has a different meaning all together in English. But 'musty' in Swedish is derived from 'must' and that is the perfect word to describe Morrison's language. It is full, rich and even sometimes a little overwhelming in how much taste there is to it. I can find myself smiling with the flow and rhyme that is just there (it is of course not 'just there' I suppose Morris ...more
Taha barad
بهذه الترجمة لم يعد لدي الرغبة في انهائها..حتى لا اظلمها
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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

Toni Morrison Trilogy (3 books)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison Trilogy, #1)
  • Paradise (Toni Morrison Trilogy, #3)
Beloved (Toni Morrison Trilogy, #1) The Bluest Eye Song of Solomon Sula Paradise (Toni Morrison 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.” 589 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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