Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Trumpet by Jackie Kay (4.5/5)

The back says: The death of legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody exposes an extraordinary secret. Unbeknown to all but his wife Millie, Joss was a woman living as a man. A novel about the lengths to which people will go for love, Trumpet is a moving story of a shared life founded on an intricate lie, of loving deception and lasting devotion, and of the intimate workings of the human heart.

I say: Every now and the I read a book that manages to slowly creep under my skin without my knowing, and it’s not until I’ve finished it that I realize how utterly subtly I fell in love with it.

This is a book just like that.

The book changes perspective between Millie, her son Colman, a journalist trying to tell the story of Joss, and a few other people that they meet during their journey. I really love that this is the way that Kay chose to tell the story, since it offers different perspectives on the way that Joss touched their lives. We have Millie who tells us how they met and how it came to be that she decided to live her life with a woman pretending to be a man; but also how she is, not only dealing with the loss of her husband, but also the sensationalism of the revelation. And then we have Colman who is trying to deal with how his parents could betray him for so long; the anger, confusion and need for revenge that turns his entire childhood upside down. Lastly there’s the journalist Sophie, desperate to tell the story for her own personal reasons.

I loved Millie’s parts because I fell in love with her person and all the sacrifices she made for her husband. When I ordered this book it was mostly because I couldn’t understand the concept, but as Millie slowly unraveled their story it felt so natural; how could it have happened any other way. It felt like a woman, at the end of her life, confessing all her sins, mistakes and betrayals – not because she’s looking for forgiveness, but because she wants to look through the pieces and see if she did the right thing.

There are so many beautiful and heartbreakingly melancholic passages in this book; through all of the different characters we are exposed to an array of emotions, and I absolutely adore the way that Kay made them all jump off the pages and straight into my heart. The only reason I’m not giving this the full 5/5 is because of the parts with Sophie that were a bit too personal for my liking – I didn’t care enough about her to want to know everything we got to know about her; I just wanted more of Millie, Joss and Colman.

I will now look for more works by Kay. And, as per usual with me, I look forward to re-reading this in the future.


  1. I don't think I've heard of this book or the author. I love when you're really surprised at the end at how much you liked a book. Sometimes the books that you slowly warm to are the most fulfilling.

    1. I hadn't heard of the author or the book, but it was on sale and the story seemed too good to miss out on. Such a gem.

  2. I've never heard of this book or author either but it sounds absolutely fascinating. I'm glad you have such diverse tastes and find so many new (to me anyway) books to read and share here! :)

    1. Thanks! I often choose books based on title and/or cover and sort of hope for the best. It's a gamble each time, but that's how of come across most of my favourite books - more so than by recommendations.