Jackie Kay       Pages: 278      Published: 1998

The book: When famous jazz trumpeter Joss Moody dies, a secret that only he and his wife Millie shared is exposed. Their son Colman who, like everyone else, had been in the dark, feels he has been betrayed by both his parents. Millie, seeking respite from tabloid reporters, escapes to Scotland. Will Colman and his mother Millie reconcile? What was the secret that Joss and Millie kept hidden for decades?

You might like it because: Kay’s writing is beautiful. She creates very real characters and provides the reader with insight into their feelings. This is a wonderfully written story about identity, family, loss, and the power of love, which is underpinned by a smattering of jazz.

What did other people say?
“Not only supremely humane but …engaging…Kay leaves us with a broad landscape of sweet tolerance and familial love.” – The New York Times Book Review

Trumpet is written in clean spare prose which is full of poetic touches…The qualities of sympathy and tenderness in this novel make it special and make Kay a writer to respect.”- The Guardian (U.K)

Awards & Recognition:
Winner of the 1998 Guardian Fiction Prize (U.K)

How quickly will you get into the book?
Three pages in I was hooked. I needed to know why the paparazzi were camped outside Millie’s home.

You might not like it because: The story revolves around the secret that Joss and Millie have kept for years. While we learn about Millie and Colman’s perspective on things, we learn little about Joss, and don’t get a real understanding of him.  This might annoy some readers.

What might you read next?
In an interview for the Scottish Book Trust, Kay was asked to name some of her favorite poets.  She mentioned a few, one of whom was Chinua Achebe. He has written novels as well as poetry, so you could read his book, Anthills of the Savannah.

When Jackie Kay was a student, she was a house sitter for John Le Carré. You could pick up his novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

© 2019

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