The Game of Love and Death melds history, philosophy, and love seamlessly. In the forefront are the two main characters, Henry and Flora. They have both known the dulling pain of death in their young lives. Henry copes through hard work, following the rules, and playing beautiful music. Flora copes as she sings her heart out in the jazz clubs. When she is not singing she flies away over Seattle with dreams of following the path of Amelia Earhart. Their lives intersect as children and again as teenagers. In the background, Love and Death are brought to life as people, as opponents in the ultimate game, to shape the destiny of Flora and Henry.
The story envelopes the reader, historical events are paired with the fictional story of Henry and Flora in 1930’s Seattle. The jazz scene is huge, segregation is a harsh reality, and aviation is in its inception. Life is simple, yet incredibly complicated. The author captures the 1930’s without flaw, from the clothing, to the jazz clubs; the essence of the era is felt in every turn of the page.
I loved the story, but moreover the deeper questions it asks. It delves into race relations, social status, the definition of family, and defying one’s chosen path. It is a beautiful love story, endearing, tender, and dazzling. Read it with your high school class to exemplify the injustice of segregation, the excitement of early aviation, and the uniqueness of the Seattle jazz scene. Read it if you love Seattle history, read it if you need a love story to make your heart sing.
You will hear the music, fly with Flora, play bass with Henry, and long to know how it all ends. I consider it a must read of 2015.
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