Spanning three continents and two centuries, Twelve Bar Blues is an epic tale of fate, family, friendship and jazz. At its heart is Lick Holden, a young jazz musician, who sets New Orleans on fire with his cornet at the beginning of the last century. But Lick's passion is to find his lost step-sister and that's a journey that leads him to a place he can call 'home'. Meanwhile, at the other end of the century, we find Sylvia, an English prostitute, and Jim, a young drifter. They're in search of Sylvia's past, lost somewhere in the mists of the Louisiana bayou. Patrick Neate has written a story that straddles time and space, love and friendship, roots and pilgrimage and everything between. Poignant and hilarious, it will hook you - like a favourite tune - till the end.
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An adventurous, musically structured yarn that begins in 18th-century Africa and ends in present-day New York City, Twelve Bar Blues, British writer Patrick Neate's second book, was a surprise winner of the 2002 Whitbread Novel of the Year. For the most part Neate's prose is enthralling, beginning with a semihallucinatory tale of a jealous witch doctor's sabotage of his childhood friend. The latter is stolen by slave traders and sent to America; a century or so later, his descendant, Fortis "Lick" Holden, survives poverty in Louisiana to become an early pioneer of the jazz form. Over the course of Neate's story, we meet up with Louis Armstrong in 1920s New Orleans; cruise the slums and jazz joints of Chicago, London, and Africa; meet up with Tongo Kalulu, the love-conflicted chief of the Zimindo, a strong tribe; and travel to America with a black, retired London prostitute in search of her real father. Neate has a few lapses in judgment: several supporting characters don't ring true (one feels like a thin surrogate for the author), and the air goes out of his writing when he begins to think in clichés. But all is forgiven through the scope of this wild novel, with its inspired network of familial connections over many years and its deep mysteries that reach, like roots, through layers of American history and identity. --Tom KeoghAbout the Author:
Patrick Neate is the author of four previous novels: Musungu Jim and the Great Chief Tuloko, which won a Betty Trask Award, Twelve Bar Blues, which won the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The London Pigeon Wars, and City of Tiny Lights and Jerusalem. He lives in London.
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Book Description Penguin, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 416 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk014028656X
Book Description Penguin UK, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 014028656X
Book Description Penguin Books, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX014028656X