Long Blues in a Minor (P)

Gerard Herzhaft, Author, G. Tr -Duval Herzhaft, Author University of Arkansas Press $16 (114p) ISBN 978-1-55728-037-4
This seriously flawed novel has not traveled well from France, where it was originally published. The story of a Frenchman's passion for blues and his odyssey to America in search of an idolized blues musician may cover territory that is exotic to EuropeansChicago slums (here called ``the ghetto'') and the segregated South of the early '60sbut will contribute little that is new or particularly insightful to American readers. Unfortunately, Herzhaft's training as a musicologist has not furnished him with an ability to articulate the effect of music, so the protagonist's fascination is conveyed only by such declarations as ``blues had opened a new world for me. It had made me aware of a humanity whose misery I had never understood.'' The prose lumbers along with low impact: ``A strange emotion gripped me,'' says the narrator, and leaves it at that. Some of the clumsiness may be the fault of the translator (director of the MFA Program in Translation at the University of Arkansas): ``But this wasn't the man I had imagined. The only time he was, was when he was playing the guitar.'' A pallid work, ``minor'' indeed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 114 pages - 978-1-55728-036-7
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