“A passionate, alive, and original novel about love, race, and jazz in 1920s Harlem and Paris—a moving story of traveling far to find oneself” (David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife).
On a sweltering summer night in 1925, beauties in beaded dresses mingle with hepcats in dapper suits on the streets of Harlem. The air is thick with reefer smoke, and jazz pours out of speakeasy doorways. Ben Charles and his devoted wife are among the locals crammed into a basement club to hear music and drink bootleg liquor. For aspiring poet Ben, the heady rhythms are a revelation. So is Baby Back Johnston, an ambitious trumpet player who flashes a devilish grin and blasts dynamite from his horn. Ben finds himself drawn to the trumpeter—and to Paris, where Baby Back says everything is happening.
In Paris, black people are welcomed as exotic celebrities, especially those from Harlem. It’s an easy life, but it quickly leaves Ben adrift and alone, craving solace through anonymous dalliances in the city’s decadent underground scene. From chic Parisian cafés to seedy opium dens, his odyssey will bring new love, trials, and heartache, even as echoes from the past urge him to decide where true fulfillment and inspiration lie.
Jazz Moon is an evocative story of emotional and artistic awakening set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz Age–Paris—a winner of the Edmund White Award and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.
“Jazz Moon mashes up essences of Hurston and Hughes and Fitzgerald into a heady mixtape of a romance: driving and rhythmic as an Armstrong Hot Five record, sensuous as the small of a Cotton Club chorus girl’s back. I enjoyed it immensely.” —Larry Duplechan, author of Blackbird and Got ’til It’s Gone