The Night Train: Review

29 Jan

Dwayne Hallston loves music. At the age of seventeen, Dwayne and his band – the Amazing Rumblers – study the music of James Brown, hoping to recreate the sound of Brown’s album Live at the Apollo. After hours of practice, the Rumblers earn a spot on The Bobby Lee Reese Show and have a chance to perform on television.  At the same time, Dwayne’s friend Larry Lime is studying the music of Thelonius Monk. Under the tutelage of a jazz musician known as the Bleeder, Larry Lime learns to play the piano. Though Dwayne and Larry’s love for music binds them together, their friendship is unacceptable in their small southern town in 1963. Dwayne is white; Larry is black. In a community where people are divided by racial boundaries, music has the potential to bring people together.

While I appreciated Edgerton’s depiction of how music can heal our differences, I found The Night Train difficult to finish. I couldn’t connect with Dwayne or Larry. I had to push myself to finish the novel – a sign that I wasn’t truly engaged. I read this book as part of a “community reads” event promoted by my local library. Although this wasn’t my favorite book, I am grateful that our library provides opportunities for the community to experience literacy together. Like music in The Night Train, sharing a book can truly bring people together!

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