Esi Edugyan

Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize


Winner of the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Winner of the 2012 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Winner of the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

Winner of the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

A 2014 Canada Reads Finalist

Shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

Shortlisted for the 2012 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

Finalist for the 2011 Governor General's Award for Fiction

Finalist for the 2011 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Longlisted for the 2013 International Impac Dublin Literary Award

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice pick Best Books of 2011: Top 100 Editors' Picks


A Quill & Quire Best Book of the Year 2011



A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2011



One of the Vancouver Sun's top ten books of 2011


A San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book Best Books of 2012



A Historical Novels Society Editor's Choice for February 2012


One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of 2012


An Amazon "Best of the Month" Pick for March 2012


Globe & Mail Book Club Inaugural Selection



An Amnesty International Book Club Selection for 2014

"Though "Half-Blood Blues" is a jazz book, its greatest strength lies more in the rhythms of its conversations and Griffiths' pitch-perfect voice than in any musical exchanges. A simple, one-word sentence that could be just an expletive - "Hell" - becomes so much more as Griffiths watches Nazis march into Paris under "that dancing black spider," and his dazed account of a band of weary survivors coalescing around Hiero's "Half-Blood Blues" is intoxicating enough to send you crate-digging through a record store's back room for anything like it. "This was it, this was everything," Griffiths says with a delirious awe that nearly excuses his unforgivable selfishness. "We was all of us free, brother. For that night at least, we was free." If there's a better description of jazz and its brilliant, in-the-moment power, you're not likely to find it."

LA Times

"[N]imble storytelling. [Edugyan] tempers the plot's 'Casablanca'-style melodrama - did a wartime love triangle lead to Falk's betrayal? - with healthy doses of quotidian banter, admirably capturing the bickering camaraderie of the young musicians."

New York Times

"History is at the core of Esi Edugyan's brilliant second novel, Half-Blood Blues. Told in the jazzy patter of Sid's first-person monologue, which makes the Nazis into 'Boots' and every woman a 'jane,' even the well-known prelude to war feels intensely lived in... Swinging back and forth between the eras, this book - which won Canada's Scotiabank Giller Prize - is both lively and imbued with regret..."

Boston Globe

"Esi Edugyan's excellent Half-Blood Blues sets its sights on the jazz musicians who flourished in Berlin during the cabaret heyday of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and found themselves endangered after Hitler's rise and Goebbels's proscription of what he called 'Jewish-Hottentot frivolity.' ... [A] tense, well-wrought novel."

The Wall Street Journal

"The story hurls us from Baltimore, to Berlin, to Paris, to an obscure Polish town - as breathlessly as that trumpet player finishing a long, heartfelt riff. From bleak, violent cityscapes, it shifts to the troubled souls of the musicians as they tend the pure flame of art and the impure fire of jealousy. It's history, and it's timeless."

The Seattle Times