Author: Varian Krylov
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Bey Deckard
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 09/26/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Gay Romance, Romance
After years struggling to realize his dream of directing a feature film, on the final night of his fundraising campaign Godard is on the cusp of having everything he ever wanted. The man he loves is upstairs waiting for him, and he’s just a few dollars short of his GoFundYourself goal.
Then everything falls apart.
His personal and professional life in ruins, when his old nemesis from film school offers to fund his dream project if he’s willing to shoot it in Spain, Godard knows it’s a deal with the devil. But he also has nothing left to lose.
Among the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona’s Barrio Góthico, the city’s vibrant music scene, and the sun-gilt beaches of the Costa Brava, Godard begins shooting his dream project and putting his life back together, largely under the domineering gaze and deft touch of Ángel, the god of jazz.
But Ángel is keeping a secret, and a deal with the devil always comes at a price.
This books strongest point is the writing. The line between kitsch and art can be very, very narrow, and yes, the narrative passed over it a couple of times here, but overall? Wow. The words painted vivid, brilliant pictures of locations and events before my mind’s eye and gave the characters life. I felt transported there, to the beaches, the jazz clubs and the Ramblas of Barcelona, the perfect backdrop for Derek and Angel’s sensual dance around and towards each other. A musician and a filmmaker, with the filmmaker the 1st person POV narrator so that this kind of sometimes poetic, sometimes almost flowery pictorial prose fit his narrative voice to a T. The portrayal of their romance, particularly the erotic parts, practically oozed emotion, and the writing style added intensity to everything, from Derek’s despair over his ex-lovers betrayal to his passion for the movie he’d been longing to make for years; from the way he’s mesmerized with Angel right from the start to the maturing process he goes through over the course of the story. Just engrossing.
The actual plot, though – well. It started out fine, as captivating as the writing in and of itself. Again, much of it depends on Derek aka Godard’s experiencing of events; I found his way of dealing with what happened to him realistic and convincing. Same with his reactions to Angel, from their first encounter to the slow process of getting to know each other they went through. Derek was adorable in his vulnerability and his capacity for enthusiasm, and Angel his fitting counterpart, properly mysterious, somewhat elusive and so very patient, if sometimes almost too good to be true. Also, I loved the glimpses of Derek’s film that were strew in here and there over the course of the story.
But at about two-thirds into the book, the main narrative thread suddenly veered off of Derek and Angel’s romance, and the ensuing plot twist felt like a forgotten Chekhov’s gun – a page-filler that didn’t really serve much of a purpose in the end. The resulting “Huh?”-moment didn’t actually ruin the book for me, it was too good overall for that, but it still left me somewhat bewildered and took away from my reading experience.
The God of Jazz is lighter, sweeter and gentler than other works by the same author, and with its multiple pop culture and cineastic references somewhat more intellectual, too. I’d name it a good point to start for new readers. Some editing glitches and unintentionally hilarious, overly pompous bloopers notwithstanding, it’s a beautifully written book and a deeply touching love story that I can definitely recommend.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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