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Jazz (Vintage International)


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About the Author

Toni Morrison is the author of eleven novels, from The Bluest Eye (1970) to God Help the Child (2015). She received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She died in 2019.


Morrison's authoritative novel--a BOMC main selection and a 17-week PW bestseller in cloth--tells the story of three intersecting tragic lives, and adroitly uses the motif of jazz to make palpable the feel and excitement of Harlem in the 1920s. (Apr.)

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

"Wonderful. . . . A brilliant, daring novel. . . . Every voice amazes." --Chicago Tribune "She may be the last classic American writer, squarely in the tradition of Poe, Melville, Twain and Faulkner." --Newsweek

"[A] masterpiece. . . . She has moved from strength to strength until she has reached the distinction of being beyond comparison." --Entertainment Weekly "Thrillingly written . . . seductive. . . . Some of the finest lyric passages ever written in a modern novel." --Chicago Sun-Times "A compelling blend of heart and language. . . . Resounds with passion." --The Boston Globe "Marvelous. . . . Morrison is perhaps the finest novelist of our time." --Vogue "The author conjures up worlds with complete authority and makes no secret of her angst at the injustices dealt to black women." --Edna O'Brien, The New York Times Book Review "She captures that almost indistinguishable mixture of the anxiety and rapture of expectation--that state of desire where sin is just another word for appetite." --San Francisco Chronicle "As rich in themes and poetic images as her Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved. . . . Morrison conjures up the hand of slavery on Harlem's jazz generation. The more you listen, the more you crave to hear." --Glamour "She is the best writer in America. Jazz, for sure; but also Mozart." --John Leonard, National Public Radio "A masterpiece. . . . A sensuous, haunting story of various kinds of passion. . . . Mesmerizing." --Cosmopolitan "Lyrically brooding. . . . One accepts the characters of Jazz as generalized figures moving rhythmically in the narrator's mind." --The New York Times "Transforms a familiar refrain of jilted love into a bold, sustaining time of self-knowledge and discovery. Its rhythms are infectious." --People

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