Wednesday, November 30

Book Review: Half-Blood Blues

Title: Half- Blood Blues

Author: Esi Edugyan

Pages: Ebook (Appox 253)

Summary: Chip told them not to go out. Said don't you boys tempt the devil, but the cheap beer in his gut made Hieronymus think a glass of milk would be worth the risk. Of course Chip was right, and the star musician on the European scene was taken away that night by the Boots. An easy target, being a mixed-race German. Fifty years later, Sidney, the only witness that day, is going back. He swore he wouldn't, but Chip always was persuasive. Full of surprises too, like the mysterious letter he kept a secret that begins Sid's slow journey towards redemption. Esi Edugyan's novel weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don't tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong...

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Although the book had a bit of a slow start, I found myself really enjoying the narrative, characters and overall story.

The author did an incredible job at bring the reader back to the Jazz era during the brink of the war, the historical tidbits and atmosphere were wonderfully done. As a reader it added to the book, on how the author was able to bring in aspects of the time period without having to go in long descriptions of the period. It read like a book that takes place during the WWII era, which showed the reader how the war affected the characters, without making it feel like a history lesson, which I appreciated. It focused on the characters, but it still had a historical fiction feel to it.

The characters for the most part were enjoyable, I don't know if I have a favourite, but they were well written and complex and as a group they really added something extra to the overall atmosphere of the book and time period and they made the story seem more realistic. I enjoyed the moral issues the characters face, that you can't trust them, even the narrator, and you don't get a lot of closure on them, parts of their life are skipped out on, there was a lot of missing information, but I still felt like I got to know them and I enjoyed reading about them.

The book does bounce from the present to the past, which took a bit of getting used to, but I did enjoy that aspect of the book. I also found myself enjoying the dialect it was written, usually I have difficulty when book are written like this, but this time I think it added to the reading experience. The only major issue I had with it, is that I felt that some parts dragged on to much - I think it's part of the narrator's skewed view point on what he saw and remembered, but there were a couple of times, I wish the story would move forward a little faster. Otherwise a fantastic book, well deserved for the Giller prize or 2011.

 Would I recommend it to read: I would, well written, well told, has a fairly good cast of characters - very well done book I think a lot of readers would enjoy.

What to read next: The other Giller short list nominees of 2011.

Challenges: 11 in 11, Canadian Reading Challenge


  1. I am not sure I would enjoy this one, but I loved getting your perspective and thoughts on it. It does sound as if it has a really good and authentic flavor, which is something that I bet a lot of readers would love. Great review today, Jules!

  2. I thought she sustained Sid's voice brilliantly; I think that would be very hard to do for a novel even half that length, but I didn't see it waver for a moment!

  3. I couldn't get into it so gave up.

  4. I am really curious about this book. I am thinking I will read it in the first part of 2012. Good review!

  5. Zibilee - "Authentic flavour" that is a great description about the book, and you didn't even read it! It's not for everyone, but is a good read.

    Buried in Print - Yes, the author did brilliantly with that aspect, and did it in way where it didn't bother me.

    Teena in Toronto - It's a shame you didn't enjoy it, but not worth it if you're not into it, so many book out there to read.

    Kailana - It's a good book, I hope you have time to read it in 2012.