Ruthiella's Reviews > Half Blood Blues

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
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May 13, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read from May 05 to 12, 2012

Told mostly in flashback by Sidney Griffiths, who is one of the last living members of the Hot Time Swingers, a jazz band comprised of both German and African-American musicians, who had their heyday in the heady days of pre-war Berlin, the focus of the story is Hieronymus Falk, the Swingers’ young prodigy trumpeter, who was arrested by the Gestapo due to his non-status as a black German national and disappeared. Most of the narration and dialogue is in US slang, even when the characters are ostensibly speaking German, which I found odd; German slang does not have double negatives; there is no equivalent for “ain’t”, etc. I also didn’t buy any of the relationships described in the book except for the anti-friendship between Sid and Chip, which rang true to me. If you ignore all that and just focus on the language, it is a beautiful book akin to a bittersweet piece of music about love, ambition and betrayal. I just wish the rest of it had measured up. Read for The Readers' Summer Book Club 2012.
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