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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Read: Half Blood Blues

Half Blood Blues, is the second novel of Esi Edugyan, whom critics hail an exceptionally talented young writer. Half Blood Blues; is the story of time and the age of personal growth. The book is written in two time periods which symbolize the youth and infancy of the main characters, and the denouement of life. The books narrator; Sidney "Sid" Griffiths, tells the story of his youth as a half blood American blues musician whom with his darker have blood friends travels to Berlin to escape the Jim Crow Laws of the southern US and to be a part of the Berlin Jazz scene. Only Germany is on the verge of World War Two, and Berlin is frozen in fear of the "boots" and the Nazi movement.

Half Blood Blues, is an optimistic dream, in a time of corruption and destruction. Edugyan takes her readers on journey through time and history from the viewpoint of the forgotten. She has cleverly crafted characters of depth and human imperfections; whom even in time of loss struggle with their own very human limitations.

Sid and his friend Chip are assimilated into a jazz band compiled of mixed races, religion, and back ground. The group was managed by a jazz club owner and music lover who took a fatherly role to the boys and the group. The group was a mix of talent the most evident being: "the Kid" Thomas "hiero" Falk, a jazz prodigy who's soulful melodies attract the attention and respect of Jazz Legend Lou Armstrong.

The novel jumps back and forth from the 1940's to 1992 and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The story is beautiful, heartbreaking, and optimistic. Half Blood Blues, is a book that needs to be digested. While i was reading the novel I felt it moved a bit slow, however now that I finished the book and have stored on my shelf it haunts me the lessons and imagery embedded in the text. Esi Edugyan makes you think, and reflect, just as her characters do. The story is a beautiful and brilliant read that blames no one for lives pleasures and disappointments.

Half Blood Blues is wonderful. Edugyan has written the book in the jazzy beatnik language mad infamous by the jazz music community. It takes a bit of time to get accustomed to the language, but ones you do the slang lingo only adds to the characters and to the story.

Half Blood Blues has been nominated for numerous literature awards and won both the 2011 Giller Prize award, and The Man Prize Award.

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