Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Award and a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, Half-Blood Blues begins in Berlin in 1939 with the arrest and disappearance of a promising black jazz trumpeter. Years later, two African American friends and musicians—one a witness to the arrest—set out on a journey at once into their past and towards redemption.
Reviewer: Donna Bailey Nurse
"It is very difficult to perceive and articulate the twisted skein of emotion that is black experience – and yet that is just what Edugyan manages to do with this brilliantly conceived, gorgeously executed novel. It's a work that promises to lead black literature in a whole new direction."
Reviewer: Sam Sacks
"The period-piece ventriloquism is entrancing in itself, but Ms. Edugyan also uses it to achieve the kind of anguished expressiveness that Falk is said to have produced with the trumpet....Ms. Edugyan possesses not a little of that same brilliance and maturity."
Reviewer: Tom Nolan
"How important is art? What sacrifices are necessary and proper to its creation? What are the demands and the limits of friendship? Such are some of the questions raised in this soaring, engaging work that brings to convincing imaginative life an all-but-forgotten segment of jazz history."
Reviewer: Chris Barton
"Though "Half-Blood Blues" is a jazz book, its greatest strength lies more in the rhythms of its conversations and Griffiths' pitch-perfect voice than in any musical exchanges."
Reviewer: Bernardine Evaristo
"Edugyan really can write, and the final chapter is redemptive. But if it's an Afro-German story you're after, then Hans Massaquoi's extraordinary Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany is a good place to start."
Reviewer: Rayyan Al-Shawaf
"If it requires a major suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader—and if it doesn’t quite fully live up to all the trans-Atlantic hype surrounding it—Half-Blood Blues still emerges as substantive and entertaining."