"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser


A tour of New Oleans and the people who made and make it special, October 13, 2009


David S. Papermaster (Farmington, CT USA) - See all my reviews

Una Vida is a masterpiece of plot development and the name of the lead character in this remarkable novel. Dr. Bazan introduces us to the interstices of the troubled mind of Una Vida (One Life) a wonderful early jazz singer from New Orleans who now has Alzheimer's disease. While she cannot always recognize those who care for her or love her, her recall of the early Jazz music and those who created it Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind leads her to sing openly along the frequently walked byways of her home. As we meet the companions on her journey we are taken on a tour of that magnificent city, its early history, the remarkable story of the free blacks who lost their rights in the post-Civil War Jim Crow era and the impact of segregation of the development of Jazz. Occasional introductions of seemingly unrelated works of art drive you to search the Web for more background. And then, as we watch the impact of Una Vida on those who grow to love her or who have loved her for decades we are humanized to gain more understanding and a sense of participation in her journey and the journeys of those, similarly troubled, who surround us. I could not put it down and read it in one thrilling day.

David S. Papermaster, MD.
Solomon Professor of Vision Research and Eye Diseases, Emeritus
University of Connecticut Health Center
Farmington CT 06030-3401

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