A stunning tour de force, Tracy Daugherty’s fourth novel explores the volatility of race, class, and economics as they affect three generations of a Houston, Texas, family, and traces the rise and decline of an inner city neighborhood from the point of view of a prodigal daughter. Twenty-something Telisha Washington returns after many years to the decaying Houston neighborhood where she was born, to renew old ties and come to terms with her family’s enigmatic heritage. The product of a racially mixed union, she has spent her life straddling received definitions of race, class, gender, and culture. Her personal odyssey is centered inside a black neighborhood’s convulsions, where violence, poverty, and the politics of gentrification take their toll. An unflinching meditation on family, race, sex, and love, as well as a dissection of public and private identity, Axeman’s Jazz is a stark, but loving, portrait of contemporary urban America.
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