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Jazz Hardcover – April 7, 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 573 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

What could successfully follow Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling work Beloved ( LJ 9/1/87)? How about Jazz , a lyrical and haunting novel that opens tragically after Joe Trace, a salesman of women's beauty products, has shot his teenage lover Dorcas and his wife Violet has attempted to mutilate the young women's corpse during the funeral? The vision of Morrison's nameless narrator frames this love story, and this anonymous voice slowly draws readers into the rhythm of the city, specifically Harlem, where jazz casts bewitching spells on people's psyches. (Some would call its influence evil.) Readers who have been waiting for Beloved 's successor will not be disappointed. Morrison has demonstrated again why she is unequivocally one of the finest contemporary writers in America. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91.
- Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Morrison, in her sixth novel, enters 1926 Harlem, a new black world then (``safe from fays [whites] and the things they think up''), and moves into a love story--with a love that could clear a space from the past, give a life or take one. At 50, Joe Trace--good-looking, faithful to wife Violet, also from Virginia poor-times--suddenly tripped into a passionate affair with Dorcas, 18: ``one of those deep-down spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going.'' Then Violet went to Dorcas's funeral and cut her dead face. But before Joe met Dorcas, and before her death and before Violet, in her torn coat, scoured the neighborhood looking for reasons, looking for her own truer identity, images of the past burned within all three: Violet's mother, tipped out of her chair by the men who took everything away, and her death in a well; for Joe, the hand of the ``wild'' woman, his mother, that never really found his. And all of the child Dorcas's dolls burned up with her mother and her childhood. Truly, the new music of Harlem--from clicks and taps of pleasure to the thud of betrayed marching black veterans with their frozen faces--``had a complicated anger in it.'' Were Joe and Violet substitutes for each other, for a need known and unmet? At the close, a new link is forged between them with another Dorcas. One of Morrison's richest novels yet, with its weave of city voices, tough and tender, public and private, and a flight of images that sweep up the world in a heartbeat: the narrator (never identified) contemplates airships in a city sky as they ``swim below cloud foam...like watching a private dream....That was what [Dorcas's] hunger was like: mesmerizing, directed, floating like a public secret.'' In all, a lovely novel--lyrical, searching, and touching. (Book-of-the-Month Dual Selection for June) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf; 1st edition (April 7, 1992)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0679411674
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679411673
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.15 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 573 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
573 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 6, 2013
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Margaret M Doyle
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going
Reviewed in Canada on October 13, 2017
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Alrik Dudas
5.0 out of 5 stars tolle Lektüre
Reviewed in Germany on May 2, 2013
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Frank P
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2017
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