Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Jazz by Toni Morrison (1993)

These are the books I am terrified to review. Mostly because the intellectual theses on them out there are terrifying for ordinary readers. What more can I say after endless pages on the narrative styles and the emphasis of blues music on the storyline?

Well, I can add, with every other reader, how incredibly beautiful the book is. How beautifully the sentences just blend into each other. Sometimes you just gasp at the sheer audacity of phrases, words which never should have belonged together forming such terribly beautiful ideas. Then there is here deep insight into human nature, and her strong, abiding faith in love. Just the first paragraph is an auditory pleasure enough to make this book a classic.

Then there is the question of an unpunished murderer to whose woes we are introduced. While none of the characters here appear sympathetic, and law could not have been very sympathetic with the African American race ( an understatement if there ever was one), to just let a murderer roam free when there are witnesses is bordering on the absurd.

But then here is your narrator, the book itself, slowly letting you discover it, through a tale slowly unravelling and letting you fall in love with it and falling in love with you. And you are left by a book which tells you at the end that it loves you and your head scream "Meta!!!" and your eyes look confused, but in your brain, you know the book is just a shy lover and it is the end and it does not want to let you go not knowing.

And however distressed you might have been, at the end you leave something soulfully beautiful telling you words which will haunt you pages after you have shut the book.

"That I have loved only you, surrendered my whole self reckless to you and nobody else. That I want you to love me back and show it to me. That I love the way you hold me, how close you let me be to you. I like your fingers on and on, lifting, turning. I have watched your face for a long time now, and missed your eyes when you went away from me. Talking to you and hearing you answer- that's the kick."

Because do look when you are reading. And look where your hands are.


This book satisfies the following challenges:

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Back To The Classics 2013- A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience

1 comment:

Rachel Bradford said...

I really love Toni Morrison's books, don't you? She has such a beautiful voice - though her topics (racism, etc) are generally difficult to deal with.

Thanks for the review!