Coming through slaughter is a novel by michael ondaatje published by house of anansi in 1976 it was the winner of the 1976 books in canada first novel award the novel is a fictionalised version of the life of the new orleans jazz pioneer buddy bolden . Coming through slaughter draws heavily on ondaatjes poetic roots as rhythmic sections of smooth unself conscious dialogue alternate with straight narrative and passages of syncopated poetry it is far shorter and contains more poetry than his later works and this works well in a book about jazz. Coming through slaughter is a story i revisit often i have read this story countless times each time appreciating the writing and narrative more and more ondaatje is a wordsmith and his talent shines with his ability to intertwine fragments of song faded photographs along with snippets of dialog. Coming through slaughter by michael ondaatje examines the life of charles buddy bolden pioneer jazz performer barber journalist family man and infamous man about town who goes insane and dies institutionalized. About coming through slaughter bringing to life the fabulous colorful panorama of new orleans in the first flush of the jazz era this book tells the story of buddy bolden the first of the great trumpet players some say the originator of jazz who was in any case the genius the guiding spirit and the king of that time and place
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