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Jazz moon / Joe Okonkwo.

By: Okonkwo, Joe [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, NY : Kensington Books, [2016]Copyright date: ©2016Description: 351 pages ; 21 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 149670116X; 9781496701169.Subject(s): African Americans -- Fiction | Nineteen twenties -- Fiction | Harlem Renaissance -- Fiction | Man-woman relationships -- Fiction | Paris (France) -- FictionGenre/Form: Historical fiction.DDC classification: 813/.6 Summary: Ben Charles and his wife Angeline take part of the Harlem Renaissance scene in the 1920s. Ben finds himself drawn to Paris due to the influence of trumpeter Baby Back Johnston. In Paris, jazz and champagne flow eternally, and blacks are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It's an easy life that quickly leaves Ben adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliancesin the city's decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafes to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

On a sweltering summer night in 1925, beauties in beaded dresses mingle with hepcats in dapper suits on the streets of Harlem. The air is thick with reefer smoke, and jazz pours out of speakeasy doorways. Ben Charles and his devoted wife, Angeline, are among the locals crammed into a basement club to hear jazz and drink bootleg liquor. For aspiring poet Ben, the swirling, heady rhythms are a revelation. So is Baby Back Johnston, an ambitious trumpet player who flashes a devilish grin and blasts jazz dynamite from his horn. Ben finds himself drawn to the trumpeter--and to Paris where Baby Back says everything is happening.

In Paris, jazz and champagne flow eternally, and blacks are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It's an easy life that quickly leaves Bed adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliances in the city's decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafes to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials, and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.

Ben Charles and his wife Angeline take part of the Harlem Renaissance scene in the 1920s. Ben finds himself drawn to Paris due to the influence of trumpeter Baby Back Johnston. In Paris, jazz and champagne flow eternally, and blacks are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It's an easy life that quickly leaves Ben adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliancesin the city's decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafes to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Ben Charles is an aspiring poet whose generous spirit leads too often to dashed dreams and a broken heart. Growing up in a sharecropping family in rural Georgia in the early 1920s, Ben realizes as a young teen that he prefers men to women and quickly learns that homosexuality is beyond the pale in that society. He escapes to New York City, and on the train north he meets single, pregnant Adeline, and marries her. They find jobs and modest success in Harlem, she as a hairdresser and he as a waiter. Then Ben falls in love with Baby Back Johnston, a gifted jazz trumpeter. When Baby Back is offered a gig in Paris, Ben accompanies him. Jazz Age Paris is a colorful, decadent world of alcohol, drugs, and sex. Ben and Baby Back break up, and Ben falls in love with another man. Ben only gradually comes to realize that the person who needs to be rescued is himself. Okonkwo's debut novel offers a detailed picture of Harlem and Paris during a tumultuous time. Sean Crisden's narration is excellent, giving distinctive voices to a diverse cast of characters. VERDICT For popular collections. ["This agreeable blend of historical fiction and social commentary is a solid choice for LGBTQ and African American [collections], as well as aficionados of the period": LJ 2/18/16 Xpress Review of the Kensington hc.]-Nann Blaine Hilyard, -Winthrop Harbor, IL © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Themes of trust, forgiveness, and respect permeate Okonkwo's sensitively written gay novel, a coming-of-age and coming-to-terms tale set in the 1920s, when jazz babies danced to Harlem's hot jazz, which is so prized in Paris, where jazz-trumpeter Baby Back yearns to go. Waiter-poet Ben is married and conflicted when he trades glances with another man. Soon after, Ben, delayed by guilt but holding tight to Baby's gift ticket, dashes to the ship that will take him and his lover to France. Their growing confidence from newfound acceptance is tested on board the Bonaparte when a racist white man fights Baby Back, until the captain intervenes, proclaiming, This is a French vessel, and in France we treat everyone with respect. Clinging to this morsel of freedom, Ben wonders if he can ever return to America. In Paris, while the coldly ambitious Baby rehearses in a small club, Ben delightedly explores Paris and practices French but to what end? Okonkwo has written a lovely debut novel.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2016 Booklist