12 January 2012

Half-Blood Blues

See this absolutely gorgeous woman to the right? Her name is Esi Edugyan and she has written an absolutely gorgeous book called Half-Blood Blues. It is the second book I got for Christmas and I am ashamed to say I had never heard of it despite the fact it was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, and the Man Booker Prize and a winner of the Scotia Bank Giller Prize. Add to that, I was messing around on amazon.ca and discovered that the amazon powers-that-be list this gem among the top 100 books of 2011. Still I approached the first page with some trepidation. I'm not always on the same wavelength as the literary powers-that-be.Turns out there was nothing to fear, Half-Blood Blues is now my favourite book of 2012 and it's going to be mighty hard to knock it out of first place.

The story is told by Sid Griffiths, bass player, jazz musician and black man. As he tells us the story of surviving Germany and occupied Paris during the onset of WWII, interspersed with the reality of his life in the present day, we get to know his friends, his lover, and his fellow musicians. I admit, I have read books that jump between time periods that have lost me in the jumps. This is not one of those books. It was easy to navigate the changes in time. The characters are well developed and I fell completely in love with Sid. He wasn't perfect but he was real and easy to love. Some of the other characters annoyed me a little but I feel like they were supposed to. No one in this book is perfect.

I am so not doing this book justice. Critics have used the words 'beautiful', 'stunning', 'gripping and original'. I would add 'haunting', 'lovely', 'suprising', 'moving'. This is a serious must read.


Character Development          5

Editing                                     5

Sex                                          1 – nothing graphic

Violence                                  2 – some fist fighting

Romance                                 4

Readability/Flow                    5

A Taste from page 102:
I ain't known how long we was in there. My legs was throbbing and then they just gone totally dead. And still we was crouched silent in that cellar. After awhile Delilah called through for us to stay put, the Boots was gone but they might be back. And then some more time passed. Chip shifted on his haunches. The kid let out a strange strangled sound, muttering an embarrassed apology. My mind started to drift.


  1. Oh I like the sound of this one. I'm put this on my list for the WWII components.

  2. I love the words you use because I know exactly what you mean and I love when a book moves me like that


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