Jazzy Zigzagin’ Blues by Dalvin Clifford
Reviewed By: The Editorial Board
The Editorial Board of The Columbia Review selects new books and films of interest, as well as paid submissions and sponsored reviews from authors, publishers, directors, agents and producers. www.TheColumbiaReview.com
This is a lively novel featuring a colorful ensemble of characters. It captures a vibrant snapshot of interwoven lives and their complications, delivering a realistic drama. Jazzy Zigzagin’ Blues is especially unique at a time when few novelists dare to straddle over the lines separating rigid fiction sub-genres—in this case, a work of fiction that combines genuine youth and YA fiction with a truly heartfelt exploration of marriage and adult relationships.
While most of the story is told in prose, the use of poems and lyrical expressions of thoughts and interactions enrich the material quite a bit. Buttressing this broad canvas are conflicts of class and race, work and economic struggle, loyalty and passion—weighty subjects the author weaves into the story with a light hand.
Particularly notable is the author’s ability to allow his characters to speak their twang without crossing that invisible border between ethnic authenticity and cringe-inducing pretense. For example: ““And, child, don’t you think you ’bouts to be at this party all day long, then sleep in late Sunday morning. ’Cuz yo’ behind is still going to church tomorrow. So keep that in mind while you out there hootin’ and hollerin’ with them people,” Anita had told her daughter.” In this respect, Dalvin Clifford demonstrates a deft capability that’s reminiscent of the late Elmore Leonard. Well done!