Tiger Rag

Tiger Rag

Nicholas Christopher / Jan 26, 2020

Tiger Rag The acclaimed author of Veronica and A Trip to the Stars returns with a dazzling new novel based on one of the great legends of musical history New Orleans The virtuoso cornet player Charles Bud

  • Title: Tiger Rag
  • Author: Nicholas Christopher
  • ISBN: 9781400069217
  • Page: 136
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The acclaimed author of Veronica and A Trip to the Stars returns with a dazzling new novel based on one of the great legends of musical history New Orleans, 1900 The virtuoso cornet player Charles Buddy Bolden invents jazz, but after a life consumed by tragedy, the groundbreaking sound of his horn vanishes with him Rumors persist, though, that Bolden recorded a phonThe acclaimed author of Veronica and A Trip to the Stars returns with a dazzling new novel based on one of the great legends of musical history New Orleans, 1900 The virtuoso cornet player Charles Buddy Bolden invents jazz, but after a life consumed by tragedy, the groundbreaking sound of his horn vanishes with him Rumors persist, though, that Bolden recorded a phonograph cylinder, and over the course of a century it evolves into the elusive holy grail of jazz Florida, the present day Dr Ruby Cardillo s life is falling apart Her husband, a prominent cardiologist, has left her for a twenty six year old Her daughter, Devon, a once promising jazz pianist, has recently finished an enforced stint picking up trash along the interstate after a drug conviction Ruby s estranged mother has just died, but not before conjuring up ghosts that Ruby thought she had put behind her long ago After a long career as a well respected anesthesiologist, Ruby suddenly jumps the tracks, forgetting to eat and sleep, indulging her every whim, wearing only purple, consuming only bottles of 1988 Ch teau Latour Then Ruby enlists Devon to accompany her on an impulsive road trip to New York, and both mother and daughter get than they bargained for, discovering that their own shrouded family history is connected to the tantalizing search for Buddy Bolden s long lost cylinder Ranging from turn of the century Louisiana to Roaring Twenties Chicago to contemporary Manhattan, Tiger Rag is at once a moving story of loss and redemption and an intricate historical mystery from one of our most brilliant storytellers.

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      Published :2019-06-25T22:04:13+00:00

    About "Nicholas Christopher"

      • Nicholas Christopher

        Nicholas Christopher was born and raised in New York City He was educated at Harvard College, where he studied with Robert Lowell and Anthony Hecht Afterward, he traveled and lived in Europe He became a regular contributor to the New Yorker in his early twenties, and began publishing his work in other leading magazines, both in the United States and abroad, including Esquire, the New Republic, the New York Review of Books, the Nation, and the Paris Review He has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Poetry, the Paris Review 50th Anniversary Anthology, the Best American Poetry, Poet s Choice, the Everyman s Library Poems of New York and Conversation Pieces, the Norton Anthology of Love, the Faber Book of Movie Verse, and the Grand Street Reader He has edited two major anthologies himself, Under 35 The New Generation of American Poets Anchor, 1989 and Walk on the Wild Side Urban American Poetry Since 1975 Scribner, 1994 and has translated Martial and Catullus and several modern Greek poets, including George Seferis and Yannis Ritsos His books have been translated and published many other countries, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships from various institutions, including the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America, and the National Endowment for the Arts He has taught at Yale, Barnard College, and New York University, and is now a Professor on the permanent faculty of the Writing Division of the School of the Arts at Columbia University He lives in New York City with his wife, Constance Christopher, and continues to travel widely, most frequently to Venice, the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and the Grenadines.


    1. I read Nicholas Christopher's Veronica several years ago, and I remember it being dizzying and dazzling—and ultimately a bit unfulfilling. And so with this one. It was engaging, with two interwoven plotlines moving toward each other, and it did have interesting characters, dialogue, etc but ultimately it was kind of unsatisfying.Here's a quick synopsis that isn't spoilery: The first plot is in the past—it's the sort of untold history of the man who influenced all modern jazz, I guess. I have [...]

    2. Very boring. I didn't understand what story was actually supposed to be told here. The alternating between the two timelines every single chapter was very tedious. There were too many details being talked about that were not important to anything happening. And the author seemed to be opposed to using the word "and" when making a list of things. It really bothered me.I would've liked to know more about what actually plagued Ruby and see more of her relationship with Devon. And also what the deal [...]

    3. I just love all the stories about the beginnings of Jazz and Storyville in Louisiana, so it should be no surprise that I found much to love in this book. Two stories are taking place, one in the past and one in the present. The authors strength and passion surely went into his prose and story telling abilities when recounting the past, the late 1800's. I felt like I was back in this time, coronets, recordings, constant smoking and drinking, women and bars and everything else that made Storyville [...]

    4. A solid effort and an enjoyable read. The Macguffin is a lost Edison wax cylinder recorded by Charles "Buddy" Bowden at the turn of the century New Orleans, marking the birth of jazz. The novel follows the cylinder's journey through the dusty closets of history and focuses on the people who contact it. The list of characters is a full-fledged roster of early jazz greats. I would have appreciated more depth in the characters of Ruby and Devon; as written, they don't carry much weight relative to [...]

    5. Tiger RagBy Nicholas Christopher4 starspp. 266I wanted to like Tiger Rag by Nicholas Christopher much more than I did. One for the shallow reason, that has one of the more striking covers and was calling for me to read it and secondly the story of Charles "Buddy" Bolden the band leader musician who is often credited with creating jazz music and is still so widely respected despite being institutionalized for schizophrenia at around 30 years of age. Like Robert Johnson the great bluesman who came [...]

    6. I didn't like the book much. It's more a 2.5 starrer than a 3. I dislike Jazz, but I don't think that's the cause for my meh reaction. I wish the novel knew what it wanted to be. It starts off as a quasi-historical take on the origin of Jazz, and veers off into conspiracy theory and mystery with a slight paranormal bent. This is not satisfying even though all the loose ends are neatly tied up at the end.There are two threads to the novel. One follows Jazz originator Buddy Bolden and his fictiona [...]

    7. One of the intriguing things about the early twentieth century is how the history of that time is just tantalizingly out of reach. Often we have only oral histories to inform us, with sound or video documentation coming years later. For fans of American music, these tidbits can be quite tantalizing. How did the early bluesmen sound when they were playing a gig? What were their repertoires really like?Tiger Rag spends a great deal of time fleshing out one of those mysteries. Buddy Bolden, by all [...]

    8. Excellent novel about jazz innovator Buddy Bolden and the mystery of whether he recorded any of his music. The novel starts on July 5, 1904 in a recording session where three wax cylinders were produced with the composition,"Number Two", rechristened "Tiger Rag". What happened to Bolden and the wax cylinders is alternated with a contemporary story about a divorced woman anesthesiologist, Ruby, her daughter Devon and their trip to New York. Slowly we learn the connection between the earlier story [...]

    9. Ruby Cardillo is in meltdown mode. Her ex husband has remarried a 26 year old, her estranged mother has passed and her daughter, Devon, is dealing with her brush with the law. While rummage thru the few personal belongings Ruby's estranged mother left, Devon discovers a mysterious note and decides to call the number listed which ensues a mystery of unknown family history into the Jazz world.Mr. Christoper did a wonderful job blending the past with the present. I enjoyed the historical fiction wi [...]

    10. As a musician, I truly wanted to love this book. I thought it was ambitious and obviously meticulously researched. It was also written by someone with a true love of jazz music. My 2-star rating is in no way a reflection of this author's talents. The whole book just seemed to me like it was trying to be too much, or do too much. I began to lose track of all the amazing characters because there were so many of them--and each of them, both real and fictional, could have been the topic of an entire [...]

    11. 3.5 starsThe plot's a bit thin, even threadbare in a few places, but Nicholas Christopher's convolutions always delight me. This novel alternates between two seemingly unrelated story lines that eventually converge. One takes place in the jazz music scene of the early 20th century. The other involves a road trip taken by a mother and daughter in 2010. The two paths are intertwined right from the start, but you have to read all the way to the end to discover how. If you start to read this and you [...]

    12. This rates Five Stars from me, and I recognize that if it had been about a missing Delft Tea Set I would feel differently, probably a Star's worth. But it is about a missing recording of King Buddy Bolden. Early jazz players, the City of New Orleans, the magic of a cornet vs. a trumpet: all these threads and more run through the story, and I felt as if I were among friends, walking familiar streets.With the exception that no one seems to have heard of The Library of Congress and its stellar effo [...]

    13. One of my favorite authors. Not one of my favorite novels. It's 1900 New Orleans and Buddy Bolden invents jazz, but where is the seminal phonograph cylinder of his early masterpiece? Meanwhile, in the 21st century, Dr. Ruby Cardillo and her daughter Devon, a recovering addict, are driving to New York where Mom will present at a conference. As with most Christopher novels, the two stories will collide before the novel's end (at 266 pages) but, really, who cares? Buddy has only a cameo role and is [...]

    14. Nicholas Christopher is a genius of the backstory. The overall mood and tone of this book was not my thing- jazz, music history, etc. But what keeps me going are these moments when- wham!-you meet a tertiary character who just sucks you in. The tattoo artist, for example, who is there and gone in a matter of a page but who is just so INTERESTING. I have read Veronica and A Trip to the Stars each countless times, just for those little moments when a character passes through. Tiger Rag is not my f [...]

    15. This was good, very good. I'm a fan of Nicholas Christopher's fiction (haven't read any poetry) and this is right up there with his best. He deftly weaves storylines together and develops 3-dimensional characters. My complaint: half the book is set in italicized type.Tiger Rag is a piece of music first played in the early 1900s that infused blues into jazz and sent music in a new direction. The lost recording of this piece is followed through the years from owner to owner. There are 2 story thre [...]

    16. I don't know much about the history of jazz, so this book didn't have the pull for me that it would be likely to for a jazz afficionado. But I did enjoy the interplay of the stories, one in the early 1900's, and the other in the present day. The current one, with Devon and her mother, felt a bit forced in places; and in the earlier one, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of time spent on a relatively minor character. I suspect that might have been because the author knew where he was going [...]

    17. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book after getting a few chapters in. I got confused with the characters of the musicians. But I kept chugging along. It kept my interest. The ending was VERY surprising and made the whole book worth it.I don't think you need to be interested in music or Jazz to want to read this. You don't need to know anything about the past or Jazz. I love Jazz but the music really wasn't a huge part of the story.If you have never heard "Tiger Rag" then look it up and li [...]

    18. The book falls easily on the ears much like a jazz performance by King Bolden himself. The stories here are interesting and the threads all weave together into a beautiful tapestry of music, memories, madness, genius, and love, mostly love. Using an economy of words, Christoper doesn't get in the way of his story and lets readers work their imaginations, which I appreciate.Some details needed a bit more research for NOLA authenticity, the only reason I didn't give it 5, I would have given 4.5 if [...]

    19. I was disappointed. The writing was pretty pedestrian, with lots of exposition, and the intertwining plots were in way too much of a hurry. The book is only about 250 pages, which might be part of the problem. And a lot of cliche--the substance-abusing jazz musician, the wise fortune-teller, the lost artifact that magically reappears, and what was up with Ruby's mental illness or whatever it was? That didn't seem to belong in this book. I read 2 of this author's previous books and I remembered l [...]

    20. It pains me to give the book a bad review because I like the author's other books so much, but I really can't say I liked much about this novel. I was doubly disappointed as it has been such a long time since he has written a fictional novel. The plot involved way too many characters and it didn't garner much interest as it moves along. Worst of all, the pay off at the end just wasn't there. I think the author strayed too far away from his natural style which is more based in magical realism at [...]

    21. In modern times, Devon, a young ex-drug addict accompanies her mother, Ruby to New York and a search for a new meaning of life. Each helps the other as her mother has a total meltdown. The book follows three music cylinders recorder by Buddy Bolton, a remarkable trumpet player from the very early 1900's. Two cylinders are lost or destroyed but the best one is presented to Devon as she finds a new meaning of life. An interesting presentation of early jazz but not compelling.

    22. I'm a huge music guy and particularly love jazz and see it frequently in New York. The Buddy Bolden portions of the book and the jazz history/New Orleans aspects were fascinating. I would love to have lived there in those times at the beginnings of jazz. So the novel succeeded in evoking that for me.The other half of the novel could not match this, but I was drawn to Devon's story and her struggles. I am looking forward to reading other books by the author.

    23. One of my favorite Nicholas Christopher novels in awhile. It certainly doesn't rise to the epic-ness of A Trip to the Stars or Veronica, but it was great. I found it interesting that Christopher does not include as much magic and coincidence in this book, at least compared to his other books. I found that more basic, yet universally compelling, themes came forward, such as the ability to overcome loss, to support the ones we love despite their faults, and to face the demons within.

    24. This is a nice little book. It's a sort of a family mystery surrounding music. It's very similar to Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues, in story, but less gritty and less concerned with real-world politics. The story moves well enough to keep you wondering -- how will these two stories the contemporary and the historical) finally get connected together. And of course they do. It's a little too neat, but it has Christopher's pretty prose going for it and it's well constructed.

    25. Great topic to built a two-tier novel. I'm still not sure why the author uses italics for some sections but not others. I grew to like the two main contemporary characters though for much of the book I wasn't sure where their journey was taking them, then there was a big a-ha as the plot resolved and everything made sense (well, mostly). Enjoyable though not entirely successful but with some really great moments that make it worth a higher rating than I might otherwise have given it.

    26. Having loved "Veronica" years ago, I was excited to see Nicholas Christopher has released a new novel. "Tiger Rag" did not disappoint. I found it to be a descriptive, twisting, and involving read. The feel for New Orleans jazz was almost palatable. I felt there could have been a little more development of the mother/daughter characters and their relationship. Overall, I recommend the book.

    27. Alternating two stories -- the search for a jazz legend and a mother-daughter road trip -- does not automatically add up for a sure-fire winner. But Nicholas Christopher makes it work. The book just keeps getting better, and even if the coincidence that ties the two stories together is a little heavy handed, no complaints here.

    28. A very interesting idea for a novel. There are few about the jazz world. It is too bad the opportunity is wasted. The characters are plywood cutouts, the plot a confused maze of time and deceit, the setting varied but lacking character. If the early years of jazz were really this bad I can't imagine how the genre survived.

    29. This story takes place in the present but a sub-story starts in 1904 and concerns Charles Bolden of New Orleans. In the present, the main characters are Dr. Ruby Cardillo and her daughter, Devon. By the end of the book both story lines come together. It was interesting especially the part concerning the early jazz musicians.

    30. This was a wonderful story for jazz and bluess lovers. I loved the descriptions of New Orleans jazz, the strong female characters, and even the manic mother-daughter road trip, with the ex-addict daughter having the Freaky Friday-style experience of worrying that her mother was out of control. Also, jazz, jazz, and more jazz.

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