At the age of nineteen, saxophone prodigy Latif James-Pearson boards a bus to Manhattan to find his aging idol, the great Albert Van Horn. The centers of Latif’s universe soon become a Harlem boarding house, where he spends his days practicing intensely, and the downtown club where Van Horn's group performs and Latif hides in the shadows, listening. There, he begins a complex affair with an older white painter named Mona, and starts working for Say Brother, a charismatic drug dealer. But as Latif’s frustrations with his playing mount, and the demands of balancing artistry, hustling, and love push him toward crisis, he is forced to confront his music, his past, and himself. A virtuosic story told with lyrical intensity, Shackling Water heralds the arrival of an important new voice in American literature.
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SHACKLING WATERUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Spoken-word artist and musician Mansbach debuts with the lyric story of a young tenor sax player exploring both the modern New York jazz scene and the experience of being a musician.Prodigy Latif ... Read full review
Shackling waterUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This might be the best fictional work about jazz since James Baldwin's beautiful and soulful Sonny's Blues. A K nstlerroman (artist's novel), this first novel tells the story of Latif James-Pearson ... Read full review