Blues for Hannah

Blues for Hannah by Tim Farrington

Fire imagery flares throughout Farrington's incandescent second novel (after The California Book of the Dead), in which narrator Jeremy Mason, a painter, mulls over the sudden death of his former lover, the blues-singing Hannah of the title, and journeys with their love-child to Nebraska to identify her body. This tale unfolds alongside the story of the passionate couple, of Jeremy's subsequent marriage to nurturing LeeAnne and of the remarkable, inextricable intertwining of the lives of the three adults. Spanning the mid-1970s to the present, the narrative captures the self-absorption, naive insights and fresh intimacies of college years, and the sometimes painful wisdom and liberating self-knowledge that come with growing up. Equally at home describing the artist's challenge in the face of a blank canvas or making up his own adult-contemporary version of the blues, Farrington's images and metaphors favor a purple palette (in both senses), but even so he leads us on a memorable, refreshingly lucid expedition across two decades and vast terrains of human connection: love, parenting, friendship and marriage.