COURSE: LITERATURE AND THE CITY - BOOK: Jazz - Toni Morrison

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'Jazz' blazes with an intensity more usually found in tragic poetry of the past, not in fiction today. Joe Trace - in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband - shoots dead his lover of three months, the impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas. At the funeral, his determined, hard-working wife, Violet, who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks, tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse.

Passionate and profound, 'Jazz' brings us back and forth in time, in a narrative assembled from the hopes, fears and realities of black urban life.