Friday, July 24, 2015

Keeping the beat

Want a great summer read that you'll find hard to put down? 

Check out novelist Mary Morris's fine new work, "The Jazz Palace" (Doubleday's Nan A. Talese imprint). This is her 10th novel. It is a beautifully crafted work that Morris worked on for two decades amid other projects.

It's set in booming, rough-and-tumble Chicago in the 1920s. The primary character is Benny Lehmann, whose passion in life is jazz piano. As his story unfolds and interwines with several other interesting significant characters, it involves the lives of two Jewish families beset by separate and blended tragedies, set against a backdrop of music, gangsters, racial divides, love, passion and the eve of the Great Depression.

The music is the heart and soul that moves this story along like like an extended blues form. With her skill as a writer, Morris' prose carries a musical cadence that pulls you into the work and holds you there through its twists, turns and ultimate triumph.

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