“The Saxophonists’ Book of the Dead” by Gary Barwin

Bookside Table

It’s hard to imbue the written word with a sense of music, of real auditory music, perhaps because words are tied to the page and music is a physical thing, moving through your body in sound waves. Imagine if stories did that, physically reverberated through you!

“The Saxophonist’s Book of the Dead,”  Gary Barwin’s sweet little story in the Christmas Issue of Taddle Creek, is about music. It’s about those reverbations, sort of, though it’s thankfully free from any cheap trickery aimed to make you mistake its rhythms for a sound coming out of John Coltrane. Instead, “TSBOTD” challenges you to embody the eternal promise of jazz music, ever young though the greats are long gone. The cosmic imagery in the story rings true, the isolation of these dead men in some sort of school for spirits amid “the chorus of the stars.” By situating Charlie Parker, Lester Young…

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