by Jackie Kay
Genre: Award Winner; Fiction
Publisher: Pantheon Books
No. of Pages: 256
No. In Series:
Award(s): Lambda Literary Award – 1999 (Transgender/Bisexual); Guardian Fiction Prize – 1998
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Jackie Kay’s mesmerizing and powerfully moving first novel is about the extraordinary life and seeming dissolution of a family — about the boundaries of identity and the essential nature of love. At its center is Joss Moody, a celebrated jazz trumpeter who created music that convinced everyone who heard it that they knew the man who made it. But Joss’s death has proved them all wrong: Joss Moody lived his life inside a stunning secret. His wife, Millie, had known about it. But their adopted son, Colman, now in his thirties, has just learned of it. With everything he understood about himself and his family thrown into question, Colman forms an uncomfortable alliance with a journalist intent on telling Joss’s story her own way. Millie, grieving and besieged by the press, secludes herself in their home in a small Scottish village, sinking into the aching solace of memory. Their two brilliantly realized voices — one revisiting the past for comfort, the other for answers — are interwoven with the equally evocative voices of Joss’s drummer, of the doctor who discovered Joss’s secret, of the funeral director who hid it for the last time, of the registrar of death certificates, and of the journalist. Together they reveal the startling and poignant story of Joss and Millie: how a complex, dazzling lie became the foundation for a family, a life, and a rare, unshakable love. Starkly beautiful, emotionally charged, and wholly unexpected, Trumpet delves into the most intimate workings of the human heart and mind. It is a bravura performance and a triumphant debut.
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