Friday, September 30, 2011

‘Trumpet’ by Jackie Kay

30 September 2011

‘Trumpet’ is the first novel by the poet Jackie Kay. It was published in 1998 and is an intriguing and moving work. The death of a famous jazz trumpeter reveals a long-hidden secret which shocks those who knew the musician. The novel shows us the reactions of a range of people including family members, friends and those involved in the aftermath of the death such as the undertaker, the registrar and the journalist who wants to write an exposing biography. With each chapter allowing us to see things through the eyes of a particular individual, the novel inhabits a variety of voices, each believable and sympathetic. Their varying testimonies help to piece together the jigsaw of a life but Jackie Kay impressively keeps the reader hooked and eager for more without the assistance of any real forward narrative. Even the memories of the trumpeter’s life don’t really build into a linear story. It’s hard to describe but ‘Trumpet’ is a clever, beautifully written portrait of a life that is both sad and uplifting.  



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