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42 Reviews
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The death of jazz at the dawn of Nazism
This is a story of the death of jazz at the dawn of Nazism in Germany. The name 'Half-Blood Blues' takes its inspiration from the book's hero and a jazz legend in the making Hieronymous 'Hiero' Falk is just nineteen when he starts playing with the 'Hot Time Swingers' alongside Charles 'Chip Jones and Sidney 'Sid' Griffiths, the narrator of the tale. The son of a German...
Published on Sept. 8 2011 by Paolo

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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writer, great concept, serious flaw
Ms. Egugyan's literary talent is evident in this book. She is, as the critics like to say, in control of her work. And the concept of developing a novel set among (mostly) black jazz musicians in Germany and France in the immediate pre-WWII days is brilliant. But despite these qualities, it doesn't really work.

The plot has been spelled out here by other...
Published on Nov. 14 2011 by J. L. Reynolds


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a prize winner, Dec 2 2011
This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
This is a rather weak novel. The characters are virtually indistinguishable from one another and I often found myself wondering who is who. Also, there is no sense of Berlin during the war, nor of Germany or Paris. So, weak characterizations and no sense of place. It really feels like a good book by a promising writer rather than a Giller Prize winner. It's too bad, I was looking forward to it. As I finished the book, I found that the last ten pages or so, when the characters meet again in Poland, were by far the most fully realized pages in the entire piece. It made me wonder if she hadn't started with that as an exercise in creating a scene involving the three jazz musicians and decided to fill in the previous 280 some pages. This was not a satisfying read to be sure.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half-Blood Blues, March 7 2012
This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
The reason I purchased this book is because I actually saw it advertised on the subway in Toronto. I was interested in the book because it was about jazz and my spouse in the past wrote jazz reviews. I did not expect the book to be so well written and did not realize that African Americans were treated so badly in Germany, even if they were of German birth.

When I was reading the book I could hear the musicians jazzing and what they were going through emotionally. Now I realize why so many American African jazz musicians left USA as they were more accepted in Europe, so they thought.

I also did not realize that the author won the Giller prize. The author is a brilliant writer and takes you to every place the musicians are. I would love the author to be able to make this into a movie, especially with a Canadian Director, if possible. I intend e-mailing the author and recommending this be made into a movie. Unbelievable book, I read in two days.

Please buy more Canadian books because we have the greatest authors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Americans In Berlin, April 14 2014
By 
Harvey Brown (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Half-Blood Blues (Kindle Edition)
Really a great book to read. It took my imagination right back to a time when Jazz and swing was alive in Paris and Berlin. To be young and alive in those two great cities must have been wonderful. Edugayan really captures that moment in time and allows you to feel and visualise what the young musicians are experiencing. Then we are transported to a time when the world was traumatised by the Nazis. You feel for the desperation , the longing to escape. Really enjoyed the book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended, Feb. 21 2014
This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
this story had promise - interesting time period and subject; good research of the slang. But in the end none of the main characters were likeable and none of them are redeemed. I wanted to like this book but I so disliked the characters - they were watered down and the little that they were described were mean that I have to say give this a pass.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Most of the members of the book club liked this one., Jan. 29 2014
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This review is from: Half-Blood Blues (Kindle Edition)
I found it well worth reading and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a story of young jazz musicians who find themselves in Berlin in the late '30s. The characters are well portrayed. and it was an introduction to jazz for me.
i would recommend it to anyone as the emotional aspect is not too sentimental for most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, Jan. 25 2014
By 
Brad Micklea (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Half-Blood Blues (Kindle Edition)
Everything about this story is told with care and precision. It's an aspect of the war I'd never considered and found heartbreaking in an unexpected way. It certainly pulls no punches, but never let's the hope die either.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not a book I even half finished., Dec 22 2013
By 
Anne Cromack "fanofSusanB." (Nanaimo,B.C.Vancouver Island.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
I thought it was boring and only read a few pages. Not sure why it did not grab my attention although I
think some readers would get right into it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you like jazz, Dec 20 2013
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This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
Enjoyable read from times long passed. Good reading for any jazz lover. It also portrayed something of the problems in Gerrnany at the beginning of the second world war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Novel, Nov. 24 2013
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This review is from: Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (Paperback)
There aren't that many novels that come along that stop me in my track. Half-Blood Blues was such a novel. Esi Edugyan is so talented it is almost too good to be true. Her novel about rag-tag war time jazz players gone underground is absolutely engrossing. It is gritty, hard-hitting and at the same time a heart breaking tale. The story mainly takes place in Paris just before the occupation and it uncovers the way German blacks, and African Americans mostly artists types, were categorized and discriminated against. German blacks were treated with contempt while African Americans were relatively free to travel and perform without issue. This story is one that should be essential reading in high school as it tells an important story mostly untold. It moved me and opened my eyes to yet another German atrocity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, Aug. 31 2013
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This review is from: Half-Blood Blues (Kindle Edition)
A friend recommended this one that their book club was reading. I was intrigued by the topic although I didnt know the author. I enjoyed both the story and the author's style. The book is full of exquisite prose. Esi creates magic with hr pen that makes you feel you are present with the characters. Loved it!
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Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel by Esi Edugyan (Paperback - Aug. 25 2011)
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