Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Coming Through Slaughter

Aaron bought me a copy of this book by Michael Ondaatje years ago, and I'm only just reading it now. It's incredible! It's a wonderful and compelling mixture of prose and poetry, and so far the characters are riveting. It's about a jazz trumpeter named Benny Bolden in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century:

He was the best and loudest and most loved jazzman of his time, but never professional in the brain. Unconcerned with the crack of the lip he threw out and held immense notes, could reach a force on the first note that attacked the ear. He was obsessed with the magic of air, those smells that turned neuter as they revolved in his lung then spat out in the chosen key. The way the side of his mouth would drag a net of air in and dress it in notes and make it last and last, yearning to leave it up there in the sky like air transformed into cloud. He could see the air, could tell where it was freshest in a room by the colour.

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