Jackie Kay   Trumpet  
Jackie Kay    
Jackie Kay: an interview

Trumpet: an excerpt

  First-time novelist Jackie Kay found her muse in a news item she read about the bizarre revelation made upon musician Billy Tipton's death. Though born a woman, Tipton lived his professional and private life as a man: he had a wife, a child and legions of fans who were stunned by the unveiling of his most unusual secret. Trumpet is a fictionalized account of a parallel story; the novel opens after the death of renowned jazz trumpeter Joss Moody, a Scottish musician who left behind his widow Millie and their adopted son (now in his mid-20's) Coleman.

Kay paints a complex picture of the aftermath of Moody's death and of the realization of the secret that he and Millie kept from the world -- including their son. Several narrative voices tell the story: family, friends, fellow-musicians, the bewildered medical examiner and funeral director and the hungry tabloid journalist. The melange of voices serves both to uncover the events of Moody's life and to celebrate it; through Millie's words it becomes obvious that, despite the bizarre circumstances surrounding it, theirs was a pure and deeply-rooted love. Kay also gives a voice to Coleman who, for most of the novel, grapples with his own anger and shock and with his compulsion to reexamine every aspect of his relationship with his father for clues and answers. Through simple, elegant prose and a cast of colorful characters, Kay has written an intricate novel whose main character touched the lives of many and left behind a legacy of music and mystery.

In this issue of Bold Type, read an interview with Jackie Kay and an excerpt from Trumpet.
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  Photo of Jackie Kay copyright © Ingrid Pollard

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