Toni Morrison Jazz
Toni Morrison Jazz

Toni Morrison Jazz

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Jazz (1992) By Toni Morrison

A Christian Bourgois, 1993 French paperback version of Jazz. Condition is very good with small wear on the front cover and spine. 249 pages of candid narrative and poetic style making this book an essential read. 

The jazz tainted novel is set in 1920s Harlem, New York and cuts through the brutal entanglement of the American racial undergrowth via the past and present of a young Black couple. The lyrical brood described in the book animates the reality of Harlem in the 1920’s. A place of violence, riots and discrimination lamented with bluesy jazz. The sounds, smells and euphoria of New York act as a symbol of renewal for the young Black couple who have migrated from the South. However Joe and Violet quickly learn that it is no picnic, ‘What it is is decisive, and if you pay attention to the street plans, all laid out, the City can’t hurt you’. Morrison uses call and response a style derived from jazz, which allows the characters to narrate the same scenes from their own perspectives. This dreamlike prose weaves the plot backwards and forwards through time in her typical style. The cadency of her voice was very much needed on the literacy scene in the 90s and thus remains. The capability of her work to produce conversations around the brutality in Black history and the nuances endured.

We would also recommend listening to the nifty priced audiobook of Jazz read by Ms. Morrison. For her pebbly voice is the soothing antidote we didn’t know we needed and Jazz interludes are played between chapters, giving that all encompassing visceral feeling that is New York. 

Listen on Itunes for £4.99:

Jazz is the second book of Ms. Morrison’s Dantesque trilogy on African-American history, between Beloved (1987) and Paradise (1997).