Shackling Water

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Anchor Books, 2003 - Fiction - 232 pages
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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 water

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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

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About the author (2003)

Adam Mansbach was born in 1976. He is the founding editor of the hip hop journal Elementary, and currently serves as an Artistic Consultant to Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies. He is the author of the acclaimed poetry collection genius b-boy cynics getting weeded in the garden of delights, and a former drum technician for the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. An MC and performer who collaborates with both jazz and hip hop musicians, he lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. His next novel follows three generations of a Jewish family.

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