The Essence-bestselling author of More Than You Know “has crafted a post-Katrina New Orleans from a fumy cloud of sad jazz and Creole spices” (Publishers Weekly).
When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, chef and widower Simon Fortier knows how he plans to face the storm—riding it out inside his long-time home in the city’s Treme neighborhood, just as he has through so many storms before. But when the levees break and the city is torn apart, Simon disappears. His son, Julian, a celebrated jazz trumpeter, rushes home to a New Orleans he left years before to search for his father. As Julian crisscrosses the city, fearing the worst, he reconnects with Sylvia, Simon’s companion of many years; Parmenter, his father’s erstwhile business partner and one of the most successful restaurateurs in New Orleans; and Velmyra, the woman Julian left behind when he moved to New York. Julian’s search for Simon deepens as he finds himself drawn into the troubled history of Silver Creek, the extravagantly beautiful piece of land where his father grew up, and closer once again to Velmyra. As he tries to come to grips with his father’s likely fate, Julian slowly gains a deeper, richer understanding of his father and the city he loved so much, while unraveling the mysteries of Silver Creek.
“Story’s musical background infuses her novel with a lyrical rhythm . . . as engaging characters rebuild their relationships and their city . . . moving, if heart-wrenching.” —Kirkus Reviews
With the lyricism she was lauded for in More Than You Know, Story has crafted a post-Katrina New Orleans from a fumy cloud of sad jazz and Creole spices. Though this time out her descriptive lushness meshes uneasily with the patchy, if intense, tone and plot. After the storm, Julian Fortier, a successful trumpeter, returns to look for his missing father and ends up dealing with drama: family land is threatened by developers; a past betrayal is dredged up; he's confronted with a failed romance. Amidst all this he navigates his devastated city, confronting the emotional and professional mess of his life both present and past and the more immediate problems left by the storm. Everyone he encounters is boldly drawn, and Julian's father is fantastically sympathetic, but Julian himself, the sulky center of it all, only drags things down. Readers will feel a palpable sense of frustration as plotlines sag after initial tension and the pathos and beauty of the Big Easy becomes abstract, explained more than evoked. Story has created a fine narrative web, peopled it with some skill, and brought her style and grace to the page, but none of these elements feel complete.
Beautiful, lyrical, spectacular
A gorgeous invocation of the beauty and resiliance of New Orleans.