Brad succumbs to the white plague, Oscar too spends his days fighting disease, confined to a hospital. Playing the organ at night for a mysterious sickly girl, he discovers his own talent, although years after recovery, he finds himself desperate, poor, and depressed—until the devil, otherwise known to the world as impresario Norman G, happens on him in a moment of crisis.
Inspired by the life of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, Mauricio Segura’s Oscar evokes periods across time, from the Depression-era Montreal neighbourhood of Little Burgundy to the swinging cabarets of the 1950s, while offering a reflection on the bonds between an artist and the Caribbean diaspora from which he comes. But above all, Oscar is a poignant homage to a musical giant, a man who changed the face of jazz forever.
Donald Winkler is a Montreal-based translator of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. He is a three-time winner of the Governor General's Award for French to English Translation, most recently, in 2013, for Pierre Nepveu's collection of verse, The Major Verbs.
PRAISE FOR OSCAR
"Bursts at the seams with historical events, colourful characters, and timeless themes...with its lilting strains of magical realism and strange sense of time, the book often recalls greats like Patrick Chamoiseau and Edwidge Danticat...with a keen eye to the history of Montreal and a knowing ear attuned to the ins and outs of swing and bebop, Segura shows both great force and a certain playfulness." —Montreal Review of Books
"An intriguing investigation into the life of one of Canada’s most iconic musicians... a fascinating work of fiction." —Toronto Star
"Story unravels in very creative ways...[an] enjoyable read...fascinating" —Jael Richardson on CBC Radio's q
"an enchanting and lyrical novel of the tragic consequences losing a loved one may have—and the dangers of impulsively grasping at greatness." —World Literature Today
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