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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on February 21, 2014
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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on December 22, 2013
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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on June 6, 2012
I hate to write a bad review. Usually if I don't have anything good to say, I rather shut up when it comes to books. However this one had my hopes set high being a winner of Giller Prize and being largely promoted in the media, only to disappoint me to a point where I could not even finish it.
The language it is written wants to be authentic to the slang used by black jazz community but it did nothing to me but drive me crazy, being hard read. Then the plot is so slow moving that it lost my interest. I cannot pinpoint if this is historical novel or a memoir of a jazz band of `30s and '40 up to nowadays. I really do not understand what the jury saw in it, and all the hypes that media surrounded it with.
It just tells me that some novels need a lot of publicity to sell, while other just speak for themselves and take longer to be discovered.
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on March 6, 2012
Bought this book and I have to say boring if not for the fact that when I buy a book and start to read it I have to finish it I would have thrown this away just a waste of my reading time
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on January 4, 2012
After all the positive reviews I was very excited to read this book. What a great idea, what a fascinating time and place! Roddy Doyle's wonderful 'Oh Play That Thing' came to mind. It was a huge disappointment. For me the good idea can't compensate for the poor quality of the writing. The narrator's language is so inconsistent I spent more time wondering why the author switched from mono-syllabic slang to multi - syllable words than following the plot.

Are the publishing houses in such bad shape that they can't afford editors any more? With a hard-nosed editor and some serious time spent polishing, this book could have been as good as the prizes and reviews indicate it is. My recommendation - close your eyes and listen to some Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, don't bother with this book.
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on December 2, 2011
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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