Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

When the legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody dies in 1997 his most closely guarded secret is exposed. He was really she.

In a rage, his adopted son, Colman, who never knew until he saw the naked body on the undertaker’s table, turns to the tabloid press and plans a tell-all book. While his beloved wife, Millie, who has known the truth all along, secludes herself in their seaside home and recalls the treasured moments of a lifetime of loving marriage, trying to shut out an intrusive world that beats at the door demanding to know “Why?”

Years ago I read a non-fiction account of the true story that probably inspired this novel, SUITS ME THE DOUBLE LIFE OF BILLY TIPTON by Diane Wood Middlebrook, and I was pleased to discover someone had used this fascinating story as the basis for a novel. Although race and place have been changed, and the characters and their personalities are the novelist’s invention, it remains nonetheless intriguing.

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