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Half Blood Blues

by Esi Edugyan

Nazi Germany isn't the safest place for a jazz band, especially when the line up includes half-African Heiro, Paul - blond, blue-eyed but Jewish - plus Sid and Chip, two black Americans. Tune in to Sid's rambling tale and be rewarded with an unusual read as he tells the story of the Hot-Time Swingers. What becomes of them as the 'housepainter's Boots' march into Berlin and Paris makes an edgy, funny read.

Extract

'Chip, ain't no damn way I'm driving this rig through to Poland. Size of a damn... Why a man so small rent a car this big, huh? What you thinking? Anyhow I don't know that it's even legal to take a rental car over the border to another country. You want to get to Poland, we going to have to fly.'
Can't tell you how relieved he looked.
'I thought maybe you wasn't coming,' said Chip,as we checked our luggage, his old family of monogrammed brown cases, my one battered never-unpacked bag. And then, later, as we moved through the security gates, he said again, 'I thought maybe you was going to duck out on me, brother.'
'It ain't too late,' I said.
'Hell,' he said with a grin. 'It's early yet. It's always early, while you still alive.'
'You going to print that one up? Get yourself a bumper sticker?'
Chip chuckled. 'Sid, Sid, Sid. Look at this. You and me, it's like old times. Heiro going to be so damned surprised he like to eat his old trumpet.'

Parallels

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Pops: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout
Secret Paris of the Thirties by Brassai
 

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