Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Twelve Bar Blues

by Patrick Neate

This book is all about stories, and all about identity. And as I was remarking to a Man in a Pub last night, stories and identity are pretty much the same thing. Our identity is just the particular spin we put on the events of our own lives (and we should watch out for that. We're natural storytellers.)

There's not much else to say about Twelve Bar Blues. It's chock full of stories. They centre around prostitution and jazz and race, but they also include a witchdoctor and a gangster-pastor and a Louis Armstrong.

It should be a depressing read. There's violence, poverty, rape, discrimination and prostitution all over the place. But the infectious storytelling (which is the same thing as jazz, for the most part) makes this an optimistic and hugely entertaining journey.

I picked it up in my most recent bookswap session, and I'm glad I did. Not only was it addictive and excellent fun, it also came at a good time for my own writing. I'm at crisis point with my current work in progress, and I think I've just diagnosed the problem: it needs more stories.

1 comment:

  1. Covering your two reviews in one post here.

    Aberystwyth sounds great. And the cover is of course rather awesome.

    Twelve Bar sounds very interesting and the mix of the depressing topics and the Jazz make it sound highly considerable.