Five words from the blurb: Berlin, black, betrayal, cabaret, secrets
Half Blood Blues begins in 1940s Paris and follows the members of a jazz band who have fled to the city to escape the Nazi regime. The star of the band is Hiero, a trumpet player of outstanding talent. But as a black man of German origin he finds that Paris soon becomes just as dangerous as the German home that he left behind. The other band members, Sid and Chip, are African-Americans, but as US citizens they have less to fear. The story follows Sid and Chip as they reunite fifty years later and begin deal with the guilt they feel for the events that took place in Paris all those years ago.
This book has a fantastic atmosphere. The dialect instantly transports you into the lives of this little known section of society.
Initially I found the writing very engaging, but it did lose some momentum in the central section. This slight lull in plot was quickly forgotten as I reached the final pages – I loved the emotional ending.
Despite these positives I didn’t fall in love with this book. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I am not a big lover of music, especially jazz. I’m sure that anyone with an interest in the jazz scene will enjoy this book a lot more than I did.
My second problem was that although this book covered a refreshingly different section of society it basically tells the same type of WWII story that I’ve read many times before.
If you are a jazz fan then I highly recommend this book to you, but tread carefully if you’re after literary depth or a new way of looking at the world.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
I can’t say I really connected with the characters. Lucy Bird Books
I like little corners of World war two, like this one…. Winstonsdad’s Blog
Despite plenty of research, the story seems to lack veracity… The Art of Fiction