I am so so so sad that we will not receive anymore fabulous stories and wonderful characters from the one and only Bryce Courtenay. I suppose I am lucky since this is only the fourth book I’ve read by him so I still have plenty more to indulge in. When “Jack of Diamonds” was over I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters, knowing they wouldn’t appear in future books.
Courtenay did a wonderful job of wrapping up the story of Jack Spayd, knowing he would die before he could write the planned sequels. So so sad…
In this book we get to follow the life of Jack Spayd, the child of a depression era family in Canada. His father is an alcoholic jerk but he’s got a loving mother who nurtures his love of books and later, music. Jack becomes a talented jazz musician after a neighbor introduces him to an area beneath a stairwell outside a jazz club.
Music opens up Jack’s world and his adventures take him to war, Las Vegas and eventually all the way to South Africa.
It’s impossible not to love Jack and Courtenay’s writing is such that you feel like you’re on the life journey right along with Jack. Humphrey Bower is quite possibly my favorite narrator ever. His narration brings every character to life, whether it be a young Canadian boy, a mobster, a southern hooker, a South African mine worker or a jolly old black jazz musician. Bower is the only one who’d be up to the challenge of narrating Courtenay’s books in my opinion.
Do yourself a favor and check out Bryce Courtenay’s novels. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Marriage Material