Of Song and Water: A Novel by Joseph CoulsonOf Song and Water: A Novel by Joseph Coulson

Of Song and Water: A Novel

byJoseph Coulson

Paperback | June 4, 2010

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Moving from the Great Lakes to the jazz bars of Detroit and Chicago, Of Song and Water is a tale of singlehanded sailors and jazz musicians, of working-class dreams blighted by family duty, personal betrayals, and the untold violence between fathers and sons. The novel follows the life of Coleman Moore, a jazz guitarist of early fame who finds himself adrift and in the company of ghosts: his mentor, a black jazz legend trying to live peacefully on the edge of a white town; his grandfather, a Prohibition rumrunner turned ruthless entrepreneur; and his first love, a clear-headed woman who refuses to live in the dark tunnels of the past. As he abandons music and turns his mind to a damaged sailboat, Coleman begins a hazardous course, risking the love of his daughter and the trust of Brian James, his longtime collaborator and friend. Driven by mid-life doubts, Coleman revisits his early ambitions and desires, returning through a maze of time and memory to the central crisis of his life, a moment of tremendous cruelty that calls into question much of what he hopes for and believes. In language that evokes the riffs and rhythms of jazz and the sound and movement of the Great Lakes, Joseph Coulson’s second novel is a profound Orphic journey, a story of hidden truths, unfulfilled dreams, and possible redemption.
Joseph Coulson’s first novel, The Vanishing Moon (2004), was selected for the Barnes & Noble Great New Writers series and won the Book of the Year Award, Gold Medal in Literary Fiction, from ForeWord Magazine. Coulson is the author of three volumes of poetry: The Letting Go, A Measured Silence, and Graph. His first play, A Saloon at th...
Title:Of Song and Water: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 6.5 × 0.82 inPublished:June 4, 2010Publisher:Steerforth PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0981987389

ISBN - 13:9780981987385

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Read from the Book

He climbs without faith, the ladder unsteady, the wooden rungs brittle, each step filling the air with the sound of old bones. Don’t look down, he thinks, watching the slow drift of his shadow, seeing its darkness on the long white surface of the hull. He stops, checks his grip, and struggles to turn his head, the cramp in his neck burning. He strains again, harder this time, until something moves – a snap – at the base of his skull. The stiffness gives way. Clusters of stars whirl, trail off, and vanish. He reaches the top and steadies himself before loosening the cover. Two days ago, he found the boom tent dusted with snow. Tonight, it’s dark and dry. He waits for the smell, the heavy scent that begins with canvas, a strange min- gling of wood smoke and old skin, but it doesn’t come. Too cold, he thinks. He clambers onto the deck and crouches on one knee, listening to the stillness. From his perch, he looks toward the channel. Everything visible is white, silver, or gray. Untouched snow covers the buildings and docks; it clings to the empty cradles and the towering hoist. Snow reflects the light from a few tired lamps, imbuing the dark with a spectral glow. Swirls of low-lying fog, impos- sible in such cold, rise up around rusty trailers and fuel tanks, moving through the marina like men in long coats. The shifting outlines make him uneasy. The ghosts of sailors, he thinks. They’re here to pass judgment. Call him an imposter. Tell him to give it up.

Editorial Reviews

The jazz scenes crackle with energy and authority . . . Coulson moves fluidly between the past and the present, and the novel is ultimately quiet, affecting and redemptive. —Publishers Weekly