Jazz by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison's Jazz is known for its spellbinding love story and bittersweet lyricism.
The winter of 1926, seven years after Armstice; we are in the scintillating City around Lenox Avenue. Joe Trace—in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband—shoots to death his lover of three months, impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas ("Everything was like a picture show to her"). At the funeral, his determined hardworking wife, Violet, herself a hair-dresser—who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks, and who talks mostly to birds—tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse.
In a dazzling act of jazz-like improvisation, moving seamlessly in and out of past, present and future, a mysterious voice—whose identity is a matter of each reader's imagination—weaves this brilliant fiction, at the same time showing how its blues by brutal exigencies of slavery.