Monday, February 1, 2016

Edugyan, Esi: Half Blood Blues

A rather strange story about a jazz group in the 1930s which starts with their playing in Berlin. as the
Nazis consolidate their power.   They leave Berlin and go to Hamburg, a brief interlude, where they are helped to leave the country by the father of one of them whose connections allow him to do this.
While some stay behind, the rest finish up in Paris which is then occupied by the Germans.    While in Paris they meet up with and intend to cut a record with Louis Armstrong but this does not happen.  
They make arrangements to leave but the narrator of the story deliberately hides the visa that has been obtained for the young black German trumpeter who is arrested and deported back to Germany.
This is all related in extended flashbacks while the two Americans, now elderly, are on their way to
Berlin for a tribute concert.   Once this is over, they seek out their former colleague who lives in
Poland and the narrator confesses what he did.  End of story.   Reasonably written and presumably a
cautionary tale of the effects of envy and jealousy.

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