I abandoned The Artist’s Rule…not due to any reason associated with the book but my I’m not ready to focus on any spirit/life work right now. Instead I found myself reading Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due…my second foray into what is labelled sci-fi/paranormal genre. My first was an Octavia Butler novel (I can’t recall which one) that I commanded myself to finish. It was among the first books I dropped for Bookcrossing.
Joplin’s Ghost went beyond what I expected! The story is woven seamlessly and beautifully with gems of history (and I guess that all good fiction writers do this) which captivated me to want to know so much more about Scott Joplin and kept me reflecting on the trails and trials that early artists had to create and blaze. Due made the personal agony very real by pitting Joplin’s thoughts and emotions and ego against the thoughts and emotions and ego of an uprising young woman coming of age in current times.
The book opens with Scott’s voice and the next chapter is the voice of Phoenix, the artist in contemporary times and continues to flip back and forth until their experiences merge intimately and passionately in the middle of the book (which held me wondering where it was all going and not at all predictable) and the end of the book their lives (Scott’s and Phoenix’s) battle to separate. But what is history if not a mirrored reflection for us to study as we go forward…can you say Sankofa.
Due creates two parallel love stories; one being Scott’s love and passion for his second wife, Freddie; the other, Phoenix’s and Carlos’s, a young music journalist who is the only one willing to believe Phoenix’s encounters with the ghost of Joplin. There are a hosts of supporting characters which are interesting but slightly predictable in their roles…but the story development makes up for what lacks in character development and the central characters have strong situations and good personal dialogue.
In addition to exploring musical history, Due also handles the world and violence associated with hip-hop moguls, along with the dynamics of family relationships to create a very natural feel to the tensions and the dramas. I think it would be a great cross-generational read with teenager not only for the educational resource but the action in the story is fast-paced enough for young people and the situations the characters continually face sparks plenty of opportunities for moral and philosophical and financial discussions.
To find more out about the book:
I will be reading more books from Due.