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Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2003-10-08)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0374223114 / 9780374223113
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 3243581
A 2004 Vacation Reading (selected by The New York Times)
“A roomy novel full of colorful characters soaked in the ethnic stew of New York; families and cultures are linked in the precocious Vidama Farrell and her search for her father, a pianist who lost two fingers in Vietnam.”
An epic novel of jazz, race and the effects of war on an American family
This sweeping drama of intimately connected families --black, white, and Latino-- boldly conjures up the ever-shifting cultural mosaic that is America. At its heart is Vidamía Farrell, half Puerto Rican, half Irish, who sets out in search of the father she has never known. Her journey takes her from her affluent home to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where her father Billy Farrell now lives with his second family. Once a gifted jazz pianist, Billy lost two fingers in the Vietnam War and has since shut himself off from jazz.
In this powerful modern odyssey, Vidamía struggles to bring her father back to the world of jazz. Her quest gives her a new understanding of family, particularly through her half-sisters Fawn, a lonely young poet plagued with a secret, and Cookie, a sassy, streetsmart homegirl who happens to be "white." And when Vidamía becomes involved with a young African-American jazz saxophonist, she is forced to explore her own complex roots, along with the dizzying contradictions of race etched in the American psyche.
Edgardo Vega Yunqué vividly captures the myriad voices of our American idiom like a virtuoso spinning out a series of expanding riffs, by turns lyrical, deadly, flippant, witty, and haunting.
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