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Jazz

(Beloved Trilogy #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  24,742 ratings  ·  1,558 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 April 1st 1993 by Plume (first published 1992)
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Kathy No. The two books are different and do not share any characters.
Hana Al-Harastani The order is Beloved, Jazz, and then Paradise. They're on my reading list for this summer. :) …moreThe order is Beloved, Jazz, and then Paradise. They're on my reading list for this summer. :) (less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
(155 From 1001 Books) - Jazz, Toni Morrison

Jazz is a 1992 historical novel by Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison.

The majority of the narrative takes place in Harlem during the 1920's; however, as the pasts of the various characters are explored, the narrative extends back to the mid-19th-century American South. The novel forms the second part of Morrison's Dantesque trilogy on African-American history, beginning with Beloved (1987) and ending with Paradise (1997).

عن
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Candi
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
...more
mark monday
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Michael Finocchiaro
I heard Toni Morrison read from this book in a bookstore in Brooklyn when it came out. It was a magical experience. However, this is not my absolute favorite Toni Morrison book - it is still a wonderful story full of music and life.

Fino's Toni Morrison Reviews:
The Bluest Eye
Sula
Song Of Solomon
Tar Baby
Beloved
Jazz
Paradise
...more
Rowena
Jun 05, 2016 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, “Ja
...more
Nandakishore Mridula
Sth, I know that woman. She used to live with a flock of birds on Lenox Avenue. Know her husband, too. He fell for an eighteen-year-old girl with one of those deepdown, spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going. When the woman, her name is Violet, went to the funeral to see the funeral and cut her dead face they threw her to the floor and out of the church. She ran, then, through all that snow, and when she got back to her apartment she took the bi
...more
Proustitute (on hiatus)
"Maybe she thought she could solve the mystery of love that way. Good luck and let me know." ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
A Scandalous Trio

Jazz music is rarely the immediate subject matter of this exceptional novel. However, jazz influences much of the novel's structure and atmosphere. The narrator describes a party in terms of “Red dresses. Yellow shoes. And, of course, race music to urge them on.”

The three main protagonists – Dorcas (an 18 year old girl), Joe (a handsome 50 year old cosmetics salesman) and Violet (Joe's pretty 50 year old wife) – form an ensemble, a trio, “a scandalising threesome", if not exact
...more
Zanna
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪


Toni Morrison has been one of my favourite authors since I read one of her books (Beloved) for the first time. I simply cannot find any flaw in any of her books, her writing style is so rich and the understanding and portrayal of human nature she depicts in her books is beyond simple fiction. The stories of the characters of this book, described in a borderline stream of consciousness writing style; the way she sublimes the lowest, most violent and disturbing aspects of humanity in a way that i
...more
brian
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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
Ems Dawson
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Joseph Sciuto
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible! Lyrical and sublime! Ms. Morrison portrays the post slavery period in America (just after the Civil War) and into the 20th century as well as any writer I have read who has had the courage to deal with this period, a dark period in American history where people of color might have been free, but not really. Her characters are unforgettable and so real and her writing transcends the time and place of her writing and its brilliance is everlasting. AMAZING!!
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars

I just have to admit that I am not really a Toni Morrison fan. I have read a couple of her books and like this one, they just did not make a lot of sense to me. It is not the eclectic conversations in her books, I just feel that her story lines are scattered and I have a terrible time following her. If I think I am following her thoughts, I eventually end up at a dead stop, wondering where things are going or what I just read and the purpose of it.

I gave this book a 3 star rating not bec
...more
Dedra
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One thing, one note, I will always carry with me when I stop being so fearful and actually put words on a page: There is story enough in writing about the way people feel, not just what they do. Toni examines and reexamines her characters' motives and moods in a way that feels so true to life. We don't always understand why we do what we do, but looking back on our lives and the lives of the people we have loved may provide some explanation. I want to sit in the words Toni writes and absorb them ...more
Read By RodKelly
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this more the first time I read it. Though the actual writing is pretty faultless, as is often the case with any of
Mother Toni’s novels, for me there is an issue of too much style, too much substance. I almost wish the novel was double its size; the themes would then have more room to develop and connect, which they rather tenuously do in the novel as written. I do love the very free-form, improvisatory style, the total lack of traditional narrative sequence, but the dramatic engine of
...more
Jonas
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book by Toni Morrison so far as I work my way through all of her published works. The author narrates the Audible version. What a gift to hear her bring her characters to life. Jazz is the story of Joe and Violet. Like most of Morrison’s work, we get the back story of the main characters as she brings to life the hardships and forced migrations of many blacks during the early 20th century. I greatly appreciated these back stories, especially the longing to find one’s identity ...more
Oscar Calva
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, nobel-author
Before my review, some random thoughts on some jazz albums in my collection. I love sixties jazz and I'm undecided if Blue Train or A Love Supreme is my favorite Coltrane album (he's definitely my favorite jazz musician), and I'm not going to enter the tired discussion if the latter or Miles' Kind of Blue is the greatest jazz album ever recorded. However there are two very dear gems in my collection that usually are not mentioned when discussing the top 10 albums of all time. One of them Monk's ...more
Nate D
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2021, 90s
"Jazz" reads the cover, and so this story of cataclysmically fraying relationships in 1920s Harlem unfolds by syncopated riffs and countermelodies, from the pyrotechnic burst of an unmatched set of opening moments out through a series of gradually lengthening solos, developing each character in a slow accrual of weight and detail to construct the primary themes, to the resonant finish. Beneath it all, an intrusive yet never fully revealed narrator feints and darts, building up sub-movements that ...more
Tim
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Case
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jazz is a historical novel told in many voices. It is set in Harlem during the Jazz Age and tells the story of a long term relationship between a husband and wife that is in deep trouble. In lyrical prose the reader learns that the husband's young lover is already dead. Violet, his wife narrates. She explains how indifferent they are towards each other, her love for the City, her disdain for the dead woman, and how it was that she came to disfigure the young woman's corpse with a knife at the fu ...more
Teresa
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread

4.5, upped a half-star from my original rating: My stars always reflect my reading experience. If I read this a third time (and I may, one day), I think I’ll be a better reader of it and I could achieve those full 5 stars.

While the subject matter of Jazz is not as difficult as that of Beloved—though make no mistake, the darkness is here, underneath, to the side, or overcome (to a certain extent)—and its tone is lighter—the characters, freed from slavery, leaving sharecropping, run out of t
...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An unmistakable musical cadence echoes through the voices of the various narrators of "Jazz"; the ebb and flow of the narration reverberating with the tempo and intonation of the inner lives of the characters, from the violent romanticism of Joe, the vituperation of Violet or the hopeful lyricism of Dorcas, Morrison imbues the characters with their own inner voice, as each of them tells the story of Joe Crace and his affair with Dorcas and his eventual murder of her.

Morrison explores the post-sl
...more
Daniel Clausen
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it

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
...more
Sandi
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
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. ...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, som
...more
Tanya
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A plot synopsis can't possibly do the complexity of this book justice, but I will quote the opening paragraph, which gives a good enough idea and hooked me from the first page:

"Sth, I know that woman. She used to live with a flock of birds on Lenox Avenue. Know her husband, too. He fell for an eighteen-year-old girl with one of those deepdown, spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going. When the woman, her name is Violet, went to the funeral to see the
...more
Michael Livingston
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Brilliant, shape-shifting novel about Harlem in the jazz era (and so much more). I've really enjoyed delving a bit deeper into Morrison's work in the past few years. ...more
Holly
Dec 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: women-s-novels
SPOILERS

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
...more
Alex
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
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
...more
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14,246 followers
Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was 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

Other books in the series

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

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