Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Half Blood Blues

The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymus Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, is arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He is twenty years old. A German citizen. And he is black.Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero's bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there's more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surf...


Details Half Blood Blues

TitleHalf Blood Blues
ISBN9781846687754
Author
Release DateJun 2nd, 2011
PublisherSerpent's Tail
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Music, War
Rating

Reviews Half Blood Blues

  • karen
    1970-01-01
    i'm glad this book didn't win the damn booker. that just means it wasn't a complete snoozefest. Vernon God Little? thumbs down. The Gathering? bleah. Wolf Hall? zzzzz. G.?? not his best. and from what i hear of this year's winner, the barnes? is not positive reviews, kiddies.so i'm glad this book escaped that label, because when this book is good, it sparkles like a thousand year old vampire in the sun. and i was halfway through before i realized...
  • Gregory Baird
    1970-01-01
    "That was why I come. Not to find a friend, but to finally, and forever, lose one."The downside of being an avid reader is that you can go through a great deal of books without really connecting to one. It's not that you're jaded, just that at a certain point it takes more to really impress you. There are, after all, only so many stories a person can tell, so plots become cliched, characters become familiar. But every once in a while a voice come...
  • ·Karen·
    1970-01-01
    This is a mystery to me. It has some excellent ingredients, but it doesn't meld into a potion that has any power to engage, and I can't quite work out why. The narrative voice I found warm, the friendly banter between characters amusing, the historical background of interest and well rendered, so what went wrong? Why did I end up hopping an' skipping over pages and pages, merely in order to find out if my suspicions were confirmed at the end? Yes...
  • Megan Baxter
    1970-01-01
    Jazz under the Nazis, both in Germany and in occupied Paris. Friendship and betrayal in the worst of circumstances, when betrayal can literally lead to death. And then, years later, revisiting those haunts, those people, those betrayals. This is a really amazing book.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read t...
  • Barbara McVeigh
    1970-01-01
    The story of Half-Blood Blues revolves around two African-American jazz musicians, Sid and Chip, as well as Hiero, a wunderkind half-German, half-Senegalese trumpet player. The action begins in 1939 Berlin and then moves between 1992 Berlin and Poland, and 1939 Paris.Here’s what I loved about Half-Blood Blues: the crackling dialogue, the history, and the brilliant beginning of the novel. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and once you develop an...
  • Jeffrey
    1970-01-01
    The premise of the novel is a good one: black Jazz band in Nazi Berlin...but it is TED I OUS...the plot is unfathomable, the writing is 'creative 101' oh, lets do first person...only it irritates the reader and fails on description and indeed, any form of engaging language.After chapter two, I stopped, read a few more later in the book and the last chapter and was not disappointed - it went in the trash.A poor plot, characters that do not engage,...
  • Wanda
    1970-01-01
    This is an extremely well written book—not surprising, I guess, since it was nominated for both the Man Booker and the Giller prizes. It took a period in history (the Second World War) that I care very little about and an aspect of that war that had never impinged on my consciousness (the Black experience of that war) and made me care very much indeed. The story is told by Sidney Griffiths, a black jazz musician who is performing in Europe as t...
  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    1970-01-01
    This book was ok. I didn't love love love it - I found it hard to get into (that could be because I was reading it amidst a house full of people, though). The language of the intriguingly-unreliable narrator seemed contrived (compared to George Rue, which did a better job of a similar patois). I would have liked more music - she did a great job describing the first-person feeling of playing music, but a less good job really bringing the jazz scen...
  • K.D. Absolutely
    1970-01-01
    I really enjoyed reading this book. I even thought that it was even a notch better than the eventual Booker winner last year, Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending. The only difficulty I had with this book is Edugyan's writing style. There are some sentences that are verbose. Her choices of words seem to me as not exact even using my limited vocabulary as the yardstick. Lastly, there also seem to to be some grammatically incorrect sentences. I fi...
  • Cynthia
    1970-01-01
    In 1992 Chip Jones (a professional drummer) and Sid Griffiths (a base player as a young man) take a trip together back to Germany where they spent part of their youth during the beginning of World War II. They return as VIP's guests for the showing of a documentary based on their fellow band mate and trumpeter Hieronymus Falk's. It highlights Hiero legendary talent but it also peripherally covers their entire jazz ensemble. Chip makes some commen...
  • Jill
    1970-01-01
    Sometimes two stories vie for attention: the story the author could have written and the one she actually did write. Such is the case with Half-Blood Blues.If you come into this book expecting the promises of the publicist – in essence, the black German experience under the tyrannical rule of the Third Reich – you will find this book to be wanting. However, if you are looking for a book that delivers on what the author fully intends – an ex...
  • KOMET
    1970-01-01
    I just finished this novel a little less than 5 minutes ago, and all I could do was hold my breath at its denouement. The 2 main characters throughout the story are Charles C. Jones (better known as "Chip") and Sidney Griffiths ("Sid"), both African Americans, who met on the cusp of adolescence in Baltimore and later went over to Germany in the late 1920s to play jazz. Theirs was often a contentious, sparring kind of relationship that was kept st...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    1970-01-01
    It took a long time to get to this book. When it was nominated for the Booker, and then for the Giller prize, it still wasn't available for purchase in the USA. I even ranted about it in my blog.Edugyan won the Giller prize for Half Blood Blues, and then was also included on the long list for the Orange Prize. I finally tracked a copy down, and I am so glad I did.Half Blood Blues goes back and forth between 1939 in Berlin, 1940 in Paris, and 1992...
  • Hanneke
    1970-01-01
    The story and characters sounded interesting, so I was curious to read the book. It could have been a special story, set in such an interesting time and locations, Berlin and Paris at the very beginning of WW-II. The characters should have also been people you don't normally encounter in a novel set at that time, i.e. guys in a black jazz band. Indeed, it could have provided some serious drama, as it is a known fact that Hitler c.s. severely obje...
  • David Hallman
    1970-01-01
    I’m not sure if there is a social trend going on, or if it’s just the books that I’m drawn to currently, or if literary prize juries happen to be sharing my particular obsession, but I’m reading a lot of books these days about memory.Some of them are outstanding – Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead” tops my personal favourite list and walked off with the Pulitzer Prize several years ago.Some of them leave me quite cold – Julian Barnes...
  • Faye
    1970-01-01
    Read: March 2018Rating: 2/5 starsI liked the idea behind the story; looking at the lives of a group of black musicians in Europe in the era around World War II. The book started strongly but I quickly lost interest as the novel starting jumping backwards and forwards in time. I also found Sid and Chip incredibly unlikable and was relieved to be finished with this book by the end.
  • Kaliis
    1970-01-01
    Okay. I really REALLY wanted to give this book 4 stars...But the ending is so rushed I thought I'd somehow gotten a copy of the book that was short a few pages, which is impressive since I read it on my kindle. The Ending is also a little too pat for my tastes. All along she's got this fantastic unreliable narrator who openly acknowledges that he's unreliable in the best of ways: By simply saying that he's old and doesn't really care. And this wo...
  • Michael
    1970-01-01
    An unusual novel and Booker Prize finalist which uniquely brings to life the story of a group of young black jazz musicians in Berlin and Paris in the period before and soon after Hitler's takeover of France. The narrative is told from the perspective of the bassist Sid, both then and fifty years later, as he heads from his home in Baltimore with his drummer friend from the old group to attend a documentary about them in Berlin. This revives memo...
  • Andree
    1970-01-01
    This book, well, It's probably more 3.5 stars.I liked it. I did. It just wasn't my favourite book ever. I do think it was well done. It's definitely interesting. It jumps between present-day and Germany at the start of WWII and centres around a group of black Jazz musicians. I never really thought about the black community in Germany during the wars. When you think of the horrors committed against people during that time period, they're not the f...
  • Jonathan
    1970-01-01
    So far I'm obsessed w/ this. It's amazing how Edugyan evokes the rhythm and feel of jazz with her storytelling and dialogue. What's more, the story explores fascinating issues of identity and politics with a light touch. And it's creatively structured to boot. I can't wait to see how this story begins/ends...Update: This is one of my favorite novels in recent memory, maybe ever. It's difficult to put down, because it's just so propulsive. Edugyan...
  • Robert
    1970-01-01
    Half Blood Blues is an example of how a reread can change lots of things. I read the novel back in 2011 but I did not absorb a thing. In fact I don't remember anything so I thought it should be reread.I'm glad I did.Half Blood Blues is a well constructed story. One that is about a jazz band who live in Berlin during the first year of the second world war and then they forced to go to Paris in order to record a song with Louis Armstrong. This does...
  • Jennifer
    1970-01-01
    beautifully written and evocative, this novel was such a pleasure to read. i loved the examination of guilt, desire and love mixed up with the escalation of WWII. why people do the things they do - well, it's never usually very clear. people are terrific at creating their own beliefs about others and, often, distortions of truth are concocted. people are complicated, their actions can perceived to be simple. esi edugyan gets all of this, and has ...
  • Barth Siemens
    1970-01-01
    Upon reaching the half-way mark, I've decided that I'm mostly cold about Half-Blood Blues. While there are a few good scenes, the awkward writing style is just too frustrating to wade through. Furthermore, the good parts don't seem to be tied together into a plot and there is no discernible character development.
  • AliceinWonderland
    1970-01-01
    TIP: You have to get past the 1st chapter to really get into this book and accustomed to the main character's so-called "distinctive German-American slang", because the rhythm is not typical and takes awhile to get accustomed to.- After that, however, the pace and language becomes easier to read.- Edugyan is a good writer, no doubt about that. There are certain phrases in the book which are just beautiful, BUT...- The main thing that irked me imm...
  • Randall Klein
    1970-01-01
    I will go to my grave shouting about how Half Blood Blues is one of the best books of the past ten years. The publishing industry and the American reading public have a strange aversion to a lot of Canadian literary fiction, wherein a couple of larger names (Ondaatje, Munro, Atwood) break through, but everyone else gets caught in a net that prevent their sales and readership from reaching the levels down here that they do up there. Even taking th...
  • Michael
    1970-01-01
    While this book wasn’t exciting or fantastic in any way, shape or form; I’m still glad I read it. It was an enjoyable read, real story around focused mainly on the friends and their love for playing Jazz. Half Blood Blues was short listed for the Man Booker and tells the story mainly of Jazz Musicians Sid, Chip and Hiero during World War 2. As they were African Americans they were labelled Rhineland Bastards and end up been abducted by the Na...
  • Mary
    1970-01-01
    So I was predisposed to like this book, because I am a sucker for books set in WWII Paris. But this book has plenty of lovely surprises. For one thing, it's beautifully written to capture its characters' speech patterns and music. At times I wanted to read it aloud to myself, because it sounded like jazz in my head. Second, the characters were interesting because they were complicated and flawed--you know, like real people. I recommend it for rea...
  • Babydoll
    1970-01-01
    “Ain’t no man can outrun his fate”. -SidThe rich melodious hues of jazz reverberates within the pages Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, as she delivers an interesting story of music, love, and betrayal between three members of the fictional legendary jazz band, The Hot-Time Swingers. Their lives are reflected intermittently between the periods of 1940 Paris and Poland in 1992 as the mystery of one of their members’ disappearance is unfolde...
  • Steven Langdon
    1970-01-01
    Esi Edugyan has created a vivid and unique world in this story of betrayal, love and jazz -- within the grimly darkening shadows of the rise of Nazi Germany before World War Two. Sid and Chip are black American jazz musicians working in pre-war Berlin, where racism had been less grim than in the U.S. before the Nazi campaign for "Aryan purity" escalated; they connect with Hiero, a young genius with a trumpet, whose father was African while his mo...
  • Jason
    1970-01-01
    Half-Blood Blues is a gorgeous, moving, and fresh story about the lives and struggles of African-American and Afro-German musicians in pre-war Europe. A novel of memory, identity, friendship, regret, loss, and love, Esi Edugyan has evoked a sensation that begins lightly around the mind but ends with a solid thrum in the chest.Issues of racism and religious persecution are important in World War II/holocaust literature, and of course they exist in...