Mary Morris

Johanna Lawshea

Mary Morris‘s novels include RevengeActs of GodHouse ArrestThe Night Sky, and The Waiting Room. She has also authored two collections of short stories and written extensively on travel, including four memoirs of her solo journeys. She teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.  Herr latest book, The Jazz Palace: A Novel (Nan A. Talese) opens in the midst of boomtown Chicago. Benny Lehrman’s true passion is piano—especially jazz. At night he sneaks down to the South Side, slipping into predominantly black clubs to hear jazz groups play. One night, he is called out, and asked to “sit in” on a group. His playing is first-rate, and the other musicians are impressed. One of them, the trumpeter, named Napoleon, becomes Benny’s close friend and musical collaborator, and their adventures take Benny far from the life he knew as a delivery boy. Pearl Chimbrova recognizes their talent and invites them to start playing at her family’s saloon, which Napoleon dubs “The Jazz Palace.” As the ’20s come to a close and the bubble of prosperity collapses, Benny, Napoleon, and Pearl must all make hard choices between financial survival and the music they love.