“Entertaining. . . . An anything-goes melting-pot hybrid of Ragtime and White Teeth. . . . Twelve Bar Blues blows with all its might over 400 pages, shifting between continents like an old pro stamping through key changes and tackling 200 years of intermingling African, American and British history along the way.”Mark Rozzo, Los Angeles Times
Twelve Bar Blues
978-0-8021-4056-2 • $14.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2004
The raucous novel that won the Whitbread Novel Award, Patrick Neate’s Twelve Bar Blues is a virtuoso epic tale of fate and family, jazz and juju that spans three continents and two centuries to tell a story of the enduring bond of family and the power of indelible love
In the smoky haze of the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta, no one plays the cornet like Lick Holden. With a purity of tone and tenderness of phrasing, his music has a spirit and passion, artistry and sensuality that sets the jazz scene of early-twentieth-century New Orleans on fire. But he is a haunted man, aching for the love that has left him: the beautiful stepsister whom he searches for among the streets, dance halls, and bordellos of the South.
In 1999, Sylvia Di Napoli, a black English singer and former prostitute, is embarking on her own quest. She travels from London to America to find the answer to the mystery of her family’s rootsa voyage that will lead her from Harlem to Chicago to New Orleans, revealing a romantic betrayal buried for generations, and culminating with the lifting of a long-cast African curse. Neate interweaves these stories into a vibrant, rollicking narrative.
Funny and poignant, this is a dynamic novel with all the emotional energy and breakneck tempo of a red-hot Big Easy jazz band. It will hook youlike a favorite tunetill the very last note.