Thursday, 15 January 2009

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

This book features a famous jazz musician with a secret. Fortunately for me I had followed my usual practice of not reading the blurb on the back, because I have found that very often these reveal quite plainly something which happens near the start of the book. Blurb authors should tantalise, not give away the plot! In this case I hadn't looked so I was able to appreciate the author's skill in unfolding the story. The book is very evocative of 1950s Glasgow (although I thought I spotted a mistake - I will check with my mother who was there at the time to see if I am right!) The author is a poet as well and this comes across in her often lyrical writing. This is a good story and the author copes well with telling it from many different viewpoints, gradually revealing what happened.

Then I read a Terence Rattigan play, French without Tears. I'd already read The Winslow Boy but this other play, while amusing, seems very dated now. It's cleverly done but the story is slight. The Winslow Boy will last, I think, because it raises questions about bigger themes such as truth and loyalty, but French without Tears is really just a piece of fluff, fun but insubstantial.

Day 99; Book 98