Overview

A stunning tour de force, Tracy Daugherty’s fourth novel explores the volatility of race, class, and economics as they affect three generations of a Houston, Texas, family, and traces the rise and decline of an inner city neighborhood from the point of view of a prodigal daughter. Twenty-something Telisha Washington returns after many years to the decaying Houston neighborhood where she was born, to renew old ties and come to terms with her family’s enigmatic heritage. The product of a racially mixed union, she ...
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Axeman's Jazz

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Overview

A stunning tour de force, Tracy Daugherty’s fourth novel explores the volatility of race, class, and economics as they affect three generations of a Houston, Texas, family, and traces the rise and decline of an inner city neighborhood from the point of view of a prodigal daughter. Twenty-something Telisha Washington returns after many years to the decaying Houston neighborhood where she was born, to renew old ties and come to terms with her family’s enigmatic heritage. The product of a racially mixed union, she has spent her life straddling received definitions of race, class, gender, and culture. Her personal odyssey is centered inside a black neighborhood’s convulsions, where violence, poverty, and the politics of gentrification take their toll. An unflinching meditation on family, race, sex, and love, as well as a dissection of public and private identity, Axeman’s Jazz is a stark, but loving, portrait of contemporary urban America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A multiracial woman's search for her father leads her deep into her family's fractured history in Daugherty's latest (after Desire Provoked), a stimulating but uneven novel that puts the racial politics of the city of Houston under the microscope. Telisha Washington, a city planner in Dallas, returns to Houston after her mother's death, determined to piece together her past. Moving in with her Uncle Bitter, a good-natured, hard-drinking man she once loved like a father, she also rekindles her friendship with her cousin Ariyeh, now a teacher. The family mysteries begin with her grandfather, Cletus Hayes, an African-American soldier who was accused of rape and executed after an incident of racial rebellion in Houston just after WWI. Washington visits the scene of his lynching and investigates the charges that led to his death. Meanwhile, she explores the down-and-out neighborhoods where she grew up, searching the city's blues bars for traces of the father she never knew, and shares memories of her mother with her uncle and cousin. Questions of race and identity torment Washington, who passes as white, but thinks of herself as African-American; other racial quandaries are explored in a series of running dialogues pitting the old-school ideas of Uncle Bitter against those of Ariyeh's boyfriend Reggie, a political activist and deal-maker. Washington is a combative, compelling protagonist, and Daugherty's dialogue-based scenes give color to the narrative, but the discussion of racial politics threatens to overwhelm the story, and underplotting slows the pace to a fitful crawl. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938604676
  • Publisher: Dzanc Books
  • Publication date: 4/23/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 414 KB

Meet the Author

Tracy Daugherty is an American author. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Oregon State University. He has previously held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Daugherty is best known for Hiding Man, his biography of his former teacher, short-story author, and novelist Donald Barthelme. He is also a contributor to The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and The Georgia Review. Other volumes include What Falls Away (1996), which won the Oregon Book Award, and The Boy Orator. His first novel, Desire Provoked (1987) was acclaimed as “impressive” and “exquisitely accurate” by novelist Ron Loewinsohn in The New York Times.     
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