Carolyn Heilbrun

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

["Jazz Country"] is the best of the teen-age books I have read. Not only does it render the experience of jazz with passion, with what strikes an uninformed reader as veracity; it presents its Negro characters with honesty and dignity, capturing well the white boy's longing to partake of the Negro experience in order, as he thinks, to produce great jazz. Yet it is precisely in so far as it is tailored for teen-agers that the book fails. Its teen-age hero is cardboard, its plot an outrageous tissue of coincidences which do not, as coincidences should, mirror inner compulsions of the characters. The setting is New York, but the hero keeps tripping over people he knows as though he were strolling around a town of 500 people.

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Carolyn Heilbrun, "Life in Safe Doses," in The New York Times Book Review, Part II (© 1965 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 9, 1965, pp. 3. 26.∗

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Robert Coles


The Times Literary Supplement