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Cover for Blues Lessons

Blues Lessons

A Novel

Robert Hellenga


List Price: 20.99*
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In the lush countryside of 1950s Michigan, young Martin Dijksterhuis has everything he could ever want, living among his extended family and working in his family's orchard fields. Despite his mother's plans for him to attend college in Chicago, he has no desire to leave home.
One autumn, in a camp of migrant farm workers, Martin discovers a music that touches him like nothing before -- the unsettling melodies and timeless words of the country blues. He also falls in love with Corinna, the daughter of the black foreman who runs the orchards. He ends up fathering her child, only to lose her in a stunning betrayal. Martin's music and his love for Corinna are the two themes of his life. His struggle to combine them in a single story takes him far from home and the life he had always envisioned for himself, only to bring him back again in a way he could never have imagined.
In this beautifully rendered novel, Robert Hellenga explores the fragility of happiness, the struggle to discover one's true calling in life, and the sorrows and satisfactions of family.

Praise For Blues Lessons: A Novel

Thomas Curwen Los Angeles Times An important novel...intelligent, deeply moving.

Chicago Tribune There is a sad beauty to this novel, a potent narrative about the lives people make out of broken expectations; it is a fable of the heart seeking resolution.

The Seattle Times Hellenga imparts his personal passion for music, explores issues of place, race, class, and destiny with a sure hand....A treat to read.

The New York Times Book Review Hellenga has a gift for nicely pointed satire and rich, almost lavish sense of place.

Scribner, 9780743225465, 336pp.

Publication Date: January 7, 2003

About the Author

Robert Hellenga is the author of The Sixteen Pleasures and The Fall of a Sparrow. He is a professor of English at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.