Half-blood Blues

Half-blood Blues

Book - 2013 | Trade paperback edition
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Aug 26, 2020

I loved this book. The ending came together a bit fast and neatly tied up, but other than that I loved the book. It reminded me of my time in Paris over one winter and also all the jazz I go hear in Greenwich Village when I lived in New York.

Nov 01, 2019

Phenomenal book. Loved every page of it. Thank you Esi. :)

Jul 24, 2019

Wonderful description of the times from that real-time awareness. Great characters and language of the people.

May 12, 2017

Recommended, especially for the music scene in pre-WWII Berlin and Paris.

May 17, 2016

7 out of 10. Enjoyed it, but the ending felt a little rushed since the whole story was about finding the guy

Dec 16, 2015

Amazing book! A wonderful treat to read. I learned more about jazz as well as the persecution of African heritage people by Germans in ww2. The dialect really grew on me. Very engrossing!

Nov 09, 2014

This book did not engage me much at all. At the beginning I had to acclimatize my ear to the dialect and wrap my head around the many jazz references. This led to some skipping of pages. Throughout the whole narrative I felt more for Chip, the friend, than I did for Sid the narrator (maybe I was supposed to). At times the transition from WWII Germany and France to modern day Poland was a bit awkward and I lost the rhythm of the tale. It was an interesting premise and I had some thoughts as to the outcome, but the real ending left me just a bit hanging - a big lead-up to what I thought was a fizzle.

Oct 30, 2014

The lives and the passion of being a musician and in the arts - blacks suffering during the Nazi occupations

Apr 30, 2014

I was disappointed. I expected this book to be more interesting -it's topic should be super interesting- and yet I found it lacking. It had a lull in the middle that made it hard to get through...

smc01 Feb 25, 2014

It took me a while to warm up to this novel, but after I did, I found the story fascinating and moving. The author does a terrific job of depicting a time and place. The friendship between the musicians is moving and I liked that Louis Armstrong was included as a character. The dialogue is some of the most inventive and witty I have ever read. I loved the voices in this book. As for being a Canada Reads contender, I'm not sure how this is a book that will "change Canada." It will be interesting to see how it's defended, because I don't think this book will inspire social change.

cvleblanc Feb 05, 2014

So glad that this is one of the selections for Canada Reads this year! It's a really original story, and in addition to being well-researched it is quite engrossing.

Jan 17, 2014

Read this for Canada Reads, a book I would never have picked otherwise; I hate jazz. However, I loved that book, it made me wish I loved jazz. It feels like you are taking a trip through WW2 Europe. The dialogue is a little hard to get used to, but once you do, you'll love it!

Jan 10, 2014

Thurs. Jan 9, 2014......Well, I notice I didn't make a note of when I started this book. I believe it was about a week ago (Thur Jan 3, or possibly Wed Jan 2.) I am about 1/2 way through it and I must say, it really has not engaged me yet. I am reading it because it was one of the picks for "Canada Reads 2014," but I have to say that the journey this year has not been a memorable one. This book is better than "Coackroach" but not as good as "Annabel" for me, but then "Annabel" wasn't too much of a great ride either. Hoping to have more luck with "Year of the Flood," or maybe "Orenda." Anyway, I am hoping to connect more with this book in the second half!.....Sunday Jan 12, well, on page 275 of 308, and it still is not hitting it off with me. I would have to say that I find it almost a little boring. To me, nothing has really HAPPENED yet. Oh well, maybe I can force myself to finish it tonight, so that I can move on! (p.s., for all you guys out there that are sick of reading my comments with the tracking of my pages, and my personal notes to myself, I have good news. I have just discovered the "Add More" button, under the "Comment" button, and it has a place to write "personal" notes! Yipee!).......Jan 13, just finished this book. Zipppppp, it went right over my head. I didn't get it at all. Too highbrow for me? I don't know, but if anyone would like to explain it to me, I would appreciate that. Otherwise, it was a journey that went in a circle and all I got was a little exercise, but very little stimulation. I'm not batting too well with the "Canada Reads" picks this year.

Nov 29, 2013

The jazz musicians providing the soundtrack to Weimar debauchery were not welcome in the Reich, especially mixed race German jazz musicians. Decades after the war a long-scattered band reunites and confronts conflicting memories of guilt, suffering and collaboration.

ggpro Aug 20, 2013

interesting depiction of life for black jazz musicians during WWII. Good read but the jargon was quite challenging.

Jul 15, 2013

gave up on it. read about half. didn't get me. shd try again.

Mar 30, 2013

I enjoyed this book very much for the plot and the character development. The historical setting at the beginning of WW2 was fascinating. I will look for other books by this author.

I found the story line jagged and unpleasant. It was difficult to understand the motivation of the characters and the background of Nazi Germany and constant threat to life made the reading more stressful. The dialogue is written in "American Black" which also can be off putting for some readers. This book might appeal more to Jazz aficionados, but it was only a 'page turner' for me because I flipped through chapters trying to get a gist of the plot and a reason to keep reading.

Jan 02, 2013

I found that jumping back and forth between the time of the German occupation and modern-day made the story-telling interesting without giving too much away all at once. Hard to put down for the most part, but I did find the ending a bit disappointing.

Nov 20, 2012

I loved this, mostly for the writing. It's not the greatest ending ever, but It does cast light on a somewhat unknown (to me) way of life. I love the "voice" of this novel. Not for everyone but if you like the voice... read on.

jaelle Sep 18, 2012

Recommended by Maple Leaf Book Club - GVPL

Sep 16, 2012

started...10 pages.....started to read something else and didn't really get into the book....next time

loonylovesgood Aug 04, 2012

A very well-written book. I enjoyed the story and the characters. There was some really witty dialogue throughout. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, though.

David Mulholland
Jul 12, 2012

Just finished Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues. It is not hyperbole to call it a “literary masterpiece.” It has nothing to do with Canadian literature, but for exceptional writing, it is deserving of every literary award out there. The voice of the first-person narrator moves with the precise rhythm of a talented musician. The character’s voice never falters - not once. The story is unique, in the correct meaning of that word, and it engages the reader from the opening sentence to the last. Oh, to have this much writing talent!

Jun 13, 2012

Brilliant writing, three dimensional characters. I wanted to re-read it as soon as I finished.

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