By “our premier writer about jazz and the blues . . . and a fictional tale spinner in the grand Southern tradition” (Washington Post Book World), The Spyglass Tree is a deeply affecting novel of elegant, lyrical reminiscence and profound sophistication about a young black man’s advent into the world of academia—an imaginary Alabama college—in the 1930s.
Admist the excitement of the world of ideas and adventures with new friends, Scooter sallies into “the territory of the blues,” where recollection becomes legend. Here he learns to deal with the vicissitudes of life—the complexities of family ties and camaraderie, his sexuality, pride of excellence in school, the darker realities of history and human passion—through confrontation and improvisation, and with style and courage.
“[The Spyglass Tree] strikes a perfect balance between the black folk tradition and Faulknerian rumination. . . . One reads this very fine novel for the glissando effect of its language, the vibrancy of its characters and the unabashed pleasure Mr. Murray takes in nostalgia for its own sake . . . with level-headed clarity and honesty.”—The New York Times Book Review