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Jazz (1992)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,318572,057 (3.64)261
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 from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.… (more)
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» See also 261 mentions

English (55)  German (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Not as hard-hitting as Song of Solomon or Beloved - those books explore similar themes much more effectively - but there were still passages on love and the longing for it that made me catch my breath. ( )
  doryfish | Aug 20, 2021 |
Alguien nos cuenta una historia a modo de narrador omnisciente. Finalmente descubrimos que esta narradora fue asesinada por su amante, cuya esposa además, intenta destrozarle la cara durante su funeral. Así comienza esta novela, en la que Morrison vuelve a envolvernos en su mundo hasta hacernos comprender la vida de hombres y mujeres negras en una gran ciudad norteamericana, nunca nombrada pero sí descrita, la Nueva York de principios del siglo XX.
Una historia terrible que deben solventar los protagonistas porque a ninguna autoridad le interesa lo que pueda ocurrirle a los negros. Parece que esto sigue siendo así.
Conocemos los hechos en las primeras páginas y pasamos el resto de la novela intentando conocer a un coro de personajes entre los que destacan los tres protagonistas principales, la joven Dorcas, su amante Joe Trace y su esposa Violet, con los que explora temas como la locura ("los locos tienen sus razones"), la desesperanza, el destino o los celos, junto con la historia de las migraciones del campo a la ciudad o del propio jazz, que ambienta toda la novela.
Como siempre, el lirismo y la presencia de esa mitología que Morrison usa para rescatar la memoria histórica de su gente, recorren un texto que no te deja escapar.
( )
  Orellana_Souto | Jul 27, 2021 |
granted i had no idea what was going on, but boy did i love the writing. ( )
  boredgames | Jul 14, 2021 |
"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."

And that's how the story's first few pages begin. Love, obsession, and black urban life. The plot line is discordant, jumping between storylines and past and present. It beats with ugly remembrances of violence and broken families, torn lives. Yet the writing in this book is simply beautiful, the unnamed narrator haunting. The book seems to echo the music of Jazz itself, saying listen to me! I have very mixed emotions after finishing this book. Read it and judge for yourself. ( )
  Berly | Jan 8, 2021 |
Set predominately in 1920s New York City, Jazz follows Violet and Joe, a middle-aged couple who left the South for the City twenty years earlier. The book opens shortly after Joe kills his teenage lover, and Violet attacks her body during the funeral. Toni Morrison then takes readers into the past to understand the forces that shaped Joe and Violet and led them to that fateful day.

Jazz was Toni Morrison’s sixth novel, published five years after her previous work, Beloved. Each novel portrays a period in the history of Black people in America, with emphasis on culture over historic events. Beloved is set during slavery and its aftermath; Jazz during and after The Great Migration. In writing about the Jazz Age, Morrison very effectively imitates the jazz genre itself: the narrative can be lyrical, sometimes percussive, and subplots spin off like soloists in a jazz combo. The technique is mostly effective, although the novel faltered over one protracted “solo,” despite its satisfying resolution. This was followed by the denouement which, instead of tying up loose ends, seemed disjointed.

Only a writer of Morrison’s calibre could successfully produce two back-to-back experimental works like Beloved and Jazz. While I consider Beloved the better of the two, both are rewarding for those interested in literary form and the themes she chooses to explore. ( )
2 vote lauralkeet | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toni Morrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I am the name of the sound
and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter
and the designation of the division.
"Thunder, Perfect Mind," The Nag Hammadi
Dedication
For RW and George
First words
Sth, I know that woman.
Quotations
What good are secrets if you can't talk to anybody about them?
It's nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people, for something beyond and way, way down underneath tissue.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

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