cover image Mingus Fingers

Mingus Fingers

David Sandner and Jacob Weisman. Fairwood, $8 trade paper (68p) ISBN 978-1-933846-87-3

Scenes of jazz and boxing in 1950s San Francisco are interrupted by unexplainable transformations in this moody, meandering novella from Sandner and Weisman, who previously collaborated as editors of The Treasury of the Fantastic anthology. The nameless narrator, a session trumpeter and former boxer, is at home with his six-year-old nephew, Kenny, when a man comes to recruit him for a fight. The narrative then shifts focus to the jazz sessions the narrator plays with Charles Mingus, during which the trumpeter witnesses Mingus become a giraffe. Kenny is also subject to a surreal interaction with animals when he is mysteriously surrounded by rabbits and butterflies while playing in the backyard. The story returns to boxing in the end, when, during the final bout of the match for which he was recruited, the narrator momentarily feels himself being transformed into a bird before a punch to the face knocks him out. Though there is little narrative momentum, the odd magic and arresting imagery captures the feel of jazz. What this offbeat novella lacks in cohesion it makes up for in style. (Nov.)