Half-blood blues / Esi Edugyan

Afro-Germans don't usually get a look-in when the narratives of Nazi Germany are told, yet the black presence in Germany goes back to at least the 18th century, and later waves of African immigrants produced German-born offspring who, by the interwar years, numbered several thousand. In this novel, the fictional "Hiero" Falk, around whom the plot revolves, is one of them – a Mischling or "half-breed" from the Rhineland. Hiero is a jazz trumpeter and a member a popular jazz band, that is forbidden to play live in late 1930s Berlin because the Nazis have banned their "degenerate" music. Along with two of his fellow band mates, Sid  and Chip, both African-Americans, Hiero escapes to Paris in 1939 where, when war is declared and the Germans invade, they go into hiding. Esi Edugyan weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don’t tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong…

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