The Fisher King

The Fisher King

A Novel

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In 1949, Sonny-Rett Payne, a jazz pianist, fled New York for Paris to escape both his family's disapproval of his music and the racism that shadowed his career. Now, decades later, his eight-year-old grandson is brought to Payne's old Brooklyn neighborhood to attend a memorial concert in his honor. The child's visit reveals the persistent family and community rivalries that drove his grandfather into exile.
The Fisher King -- a moving story of jazz, love, family conflict, and the artists' struggles in society -- offers hope in the healing and redemptive power of one memorable boy.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684869704 | 
  • October 2001
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Had the brass-face to come round me playing the Sodom and Gomorrah music!"

The old woman they said was his great-grandmother stood eyeing him from behind the locked iron gate to the basement of her house. She had ordered that he be brought to see her as soon as he arrived, if not the same day, then the one following. In either case, he was to visit her first, she'd said, before any of the other relatives, and certainly before "the old-miss-young" across the street at No. 258 Macon. And the visit was to last a full hour. She had insisted on that also.

Yet minutes had passed and she had made no move to open... see more

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