The Seven League Boots

The Seven League Boots

by Albert Murray
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In the triumphant concluding volume of the trilogy that began with Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree, Albert Murray gives us what is at once an African American coming-of-age novel and a pitch-perfect evocation of a touring jazz band at the height of the Swing era. Murray's hero, Scooter, graduates from an Alabama college and becomes a bass player

Overview

In the triumphant concluding volume of the trilogy that began with Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree, Albert Murray gives us what is at once an African American coming-of-age novel and a pitch-perfect evocation of a touring jazz band at the height of the Swing era. Murray's hero, Scooter, graduates from an Alabama college and becomes a bass player in an ensemble headed by the legendary Bossman. As Scooter criss-crosses the United States, he and his bandmates find themselves retracing Sherman's march to the sea, the Underground Railroad, and the conquest of the West. The Seven League Boots is nothing less than a jazz epic, so vivid, high-spirited, and infectious that readers will tap their feet to the music of its prose.

"A work of joy, of celebration...a great work of art, a rich and moving song of the human spirit."—Los Angeles Times

"A fictional tale spinner in the grand Southern tradition."—Washington Post Book World

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The young black hero of Murray's Train Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree comes of age in this ambitious and vibrant conclusion to the trilogy, set in the 1920s. Here, Scooter has been nicknamed Schoolboy, for his new college degree. A talented bass player, Schoolboy is called to join the ensemble led by the legendary and innovative Bossman. A series of one-night stands eventually takes the band to L.A. for an extended stay. Although promised to a girl back home, Schoolboy acquires two lovers there. The first, Gayneele Whitlow, an ``old down home broad,'' is a familiar fixture to the band; but it is for movie star Jewel Templeton that he takes a leave from the band. Though new to the jazz scene, Jewel becomes Schoolboy's patron, offering her home, her staff and herself in exchange for a foothold in the jazz world that fascinates her. Studio sessions and club dates keep Schoolboy busy, but the itch to be on the road returns. Even so, Jewel takes him abroad to experience Europe; it is only by leaving that continent, and her, that he learns what to come home to. Murray faithfully evokes the world of early black jazz here-as much through his prose, which soars, glides and hops in an energetic rush, as through his richly detailed evocations of various cities and landmark sites. Keenly observant and intensely curious, Schoolboy makes an engaging narrator, completing a story that, after three volumes, is as vital as the period in black American history that it evokes so well. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This novel completes a trilogy (including Train Whistle Guitar, Northeastern Univ. Pr., 1989, and The Spyglass Tree, Pantheon, 1991) that documents the education of a young black man. Upon graduation from college in the 1920s, Scooter becomes the bass player in a celebrated jazz band and proceeds through another stage of development. Section 1 ("The Apprentice") celebrates the camaraderie and inventiveness of accomplished musicians as they travel by bus throughout the country. In section 2 ("The Journeyman"), Scooter leaves the band to write music in Hollywood for the movies, and in section 3 ("The Craftsman"), he explores the expatriate culture of France. Throughout, Scooter's professional and sexual conquests seem so effortless that the novel lacks tension. Murray recounts numerous episodes but provides little plot; he includes hundreds of people but develops few engaging characters. For larger public libraries. [For a starred review of Murray's latest nonfiction, The Blue Devils of Nada, see p. 111.-Ed.]-Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679758587
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/1997
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >