Not really sf-related, but the Giller is a big deal, man.
Half-Blood Blues is the story of four jazz musicians in Nazi-occupied Paris, and moves between 1940s Paris, where the group is trying to record an album, and 1992 Poland, where elderly bassist Sid is tracking down an old friend.
Pop singer Nelly Furtado introduced Half-Blood Blues at the Giller gala, saying the book “proves there’s music in her soul.”
Edugyan said she listened to the great jazz music of the ’30s and ’40s as she wrote.
“I’m not at all a musician. I took the obligatory piano lessons as a child and I also took guitar lessons and I took cello lessons a few years ago because I love the sound of the cello, but I’m really abysmal. I’m not a musical person,” she said.
The jury praised her “conversational and easy style,” comparing it to Louis Armstrong’s West End Blues.
“Imagine Mozart were a black German trumpet player and Salieri a bassist, and 18th century Vienna were WWII Paris; that’s Esi Edugyan’s joyful lament, Half-Blood Blues. It’s conventional to liken the prose in novels about jazz to the music itself, as though there could be no higher praise. In this case, say rather that any jazz musician would be happy to play the way Edugyan writes,” the jury said in its citation.