Chasing the Dragon
AUTHOR: Hoey, Allen
PUBLISHER: Xlibris Corporation
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"Allen Hoey, in his sprawling, muscular novel, Chasing the Dragon part mystery, part monolog, part picaresque introduces Nick Flynn, a jazz critic in hot pursuit of a mystery that haunts him: the death of jazz legend, and Nick's friend, Wardell Gray. Stretching from coast to coast in Fifties America, Dragon is a powerful narration. Along the way we encounter many jazz icons, including Art Pepper, Coleman Hawkins, and John Coltrane. Rich in character and plot, it is mesmerizing and never more so than in Hoey's richly nuanced language: at times stark and Hemingwayesque, at others super-heated to a Faulknerian riff of diction, sentencing and imagery, such as in his periodic Â´Interludes,Â´ monologs in the voices of various jazz greats. Like smoke in a dimly-lit jazz joint, Hoey's language will permeate your consciousness long after you have read the last page and turned off your reading lamp."
"The directness of Allen Hoey's poems amounts at times almost to a kind of existential obduracy, the smack of a fist in a palm that means: no more bravery, the job is being. Being in the world. When you put this together with Hoey's marvelous vocabulary and his exacting rhythmic and tonal demands on our language, you get what no academic poetry can ever attain, real pertinence. Nowadays all of us are reading for our live, I think. These poems are what we need."
"Although the love for jazz comes through page after page, where a reader can hear the music through Allen HoeyÂ´s words, Chasing the Dragon is not just a jazz history, though you could worse to read it as such. It is also a love story--whether love of the art one creates, despite the toll it takes, or the love of another person, romantic or otherwise. Nick FlynnÂ´s love for Wardell Gray, a man he previously considered just short of close friend, is as real and deep as his love for Sarah, the woman he meets and falls for, against what he believed to be his way of life; otherwise, the burning need to redeem Wardell could never have rooted. Perhaps itÂ´s more accurate to say that the love comes first from WardellÂ´s art, and then from the realization that there must have been something special in the life, and something dark and untoward in the death. It is then also a first-class mystery, with crooked cops and unreliable witnesses, dead-ends and shocking revelations--some large, some as small as can be contained in a living room, in hard talk between family."
"We meet America in the 1950's as Nick Flynn crosses the country in search about his friend's [Wardell Gray's] death like a grail quest. Stitched into this powerful narration are Â´Interludes,Â´ monologues in the voices of various jazz greats: between the well-plotted narrative and the interior monologues, we meet Art Pepper, Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane. Always, lurki
PUBLICATION DATE: 5/1/2006