Trumpet - Jackie Kay

"When the love of your life dies, the problem is not that some part of you dies too, which it does, but that some part of you is still alive."


What makes up identity?


Is it your family?

You accent?

Where you're born?

Where you're raised?

Is it what you do?

Is it how you do it?

Is it the clothes you wear?

Is it your age?

Is your gender? 

Is it who you fall in love with?

Is it who you respect?


Trumpet is a beautiful investigation into the question of how people derive a sense of identity under circumstances which seem to strip the members of the Moody family of all of the certainties they may have once held to be indestructible.


Jackie Kay wrote this poetic novel around Joss Moody, a fictional jazz musician, whose death leaves his family at a loss after a lifetime of constructing their own image of themselves in relation to Joss, their respective husband and father.

More than that, Kay beautifully describes how their grieving process helps them to figure out who they are.  


"I was a traditional boy in an untraditional house. I was always going about the place freaked out and embarrassed. My parents were not like other people’s parents. Whenever they came to my school they stuck out like a sore thumb. I don’t know what it was. A different life makes people look different. Even their skin. Their clothes were more glamorous. They didn’t look like they worked a nine to five. I wanted parents that looked like they worked a nine to five. It was bad enough with all that jazz never mind this. My life was unconventional. A lot of my childhood was spent on the road. Touring. Place to fucking place. I’d have been happier at home watching Star Trek with a bowl of cornflakes. Too much, it was. All that razzamatazz. Other kids envied me and I envied other kids. That’s it."