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Jazz

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  20,354 ratings  ·  1,102 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. :)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  20,354 ratings  ·  1,102 reviews


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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 fol/>"I'm
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
155. 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 1920s; 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).
عنوانها: جاز ؛ ن
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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
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, “Jazz iMorrison,
...more
Nandakishore Varma
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 bird
...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
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, one tha ...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 angl
...more
♥ 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 ra
...more
Oscar Calva
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-author, ebooks
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 Dream (Thelonius Monk ...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!!
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
...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, someone c
...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
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.
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
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
Joni
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Synopsis: Joe shoots his 18-year-old girlfriend Dorcas in the shoulder at a party because she is dancing with another man after she has told him she is not interested in him anymore. The latter refuses help and bleeds to death. Joe’s wife, Violet, goes to the funeral and mutilates the corpse with a knife after which she is nicknamed “Violent”.
Violet starts visiting Dorcas’s aunt Alice, and surprisingly, the two women become friends, bonding over a shared tragedy. The reader learns more abo
...more
Maggie Campbell
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"...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."

"...you 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 outs
...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
...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/>
...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
...more
Trudy
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Hollis
Feb 02, 2009 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
Benjamin Rathbone
A whole world is born in the first paragraph of Jazz. It breathes in and breathes out, rippling the edges of you with a gust of unrelenting force, and then you’re there.
Ivana Books Are Magic
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jazz by Toni Morrisson is an amazingly profound novel, beautifully written and masterfully constructed...It is full of mystery, meaning and perplexity. It is just as haunting, sad, powerful and tragic as Beloved was. It is a magical and unique as the genre of music it was named after. What an amazing novel it truly is! This novel had me at its foreword (in edition I read there was this fascinating foreword written by Morrison herself in which she compared novel with jazz music).

Think
...more
El
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 i
...more
Melanie
Someone please explain to me how it's possible that Morrison can write a book that's all over the place, have mysterious first person narrators, switch POVs without ever indicating who's speaking, throw in random characters back and forth as she pleases, transition from one place to the other in a non-smooth way so you're left looking at the page like WTF how did that happen, and randomly jump from past tense to present tense.... and people still consider this a classic. Oh, Morrison's the best ...more
Anna
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
Iffat
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If the written word was a religion, reading Toni Morrison would be right up there as an experience in Divinity. Not a lightning-flashing-thunder-booming experience but a sit-up-straight-and-question-your-own-humanity experience. And Jazz is another one of those experiences. Makes you question your stance on relationships, especially romantic ones. Through a series of mistakes that inter-connected characters make, it's hard not to draw parallels with your own life, with that girl next door's life ...more
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Who is the narrator? 11 387 Aug 25, 2019 04:05AM  
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The Transatlantic...: Reactions 1 12 Feb 07, 2014 05:24AM  

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10,582 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
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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.” 874 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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