Last Updated on March 14, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 160
Jazz is a novel written by Toni Morrison, published in 1992. Set during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, the story follows the lives of Violet and Joe Trace, a married couple living in Harlem in New York City. The narrative delves into themes of love, jealousy, obsession, and the African American experience during a time of cultural and social change.
The novel begins with the murder of Dorcas, a young girl with whom Joe had an affair. Consumed by jealousy, Violet attempts to disfigure Dorcas's corpse at her funeral, setting off a chain of events that explores the couple's past, their relationships, and the community they live in.
Morrison's unique narrative style blends a third-person omniscient perspective with the distinct voices of the characters, creating an immersive, lyrical experience. The novel explores the complexities of love, pain, and history, as well as the transformative power of jazz music in the lives of its characters and the broader African American community.