Trumpet: Summary & Study Guide

Jackie Kay
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Trumpet.
This section contains 462 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Trumpet: Summary & Study Guide Description

Trumpet: Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Trumpet: by Jackie Kay.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Kay, Jackie. Trumpet. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 2000.

The novel opens in 1997. Famous jazz trumpeter Joss Moody has died, and the public now knows Joss’ lifelong secret: he was a transgender man, meaning he was biologically female. The revelation of this secret causes much stir among the press, and reporters hound Joss’ wife, Millie. To escape the reporters, Millie flees from her London home and takes refuge in the vacation home that she and Joss owned in Torr, Scotland. Millie recalls her and Joss’ early courtship days. They met in 1955 in Scotland, where they were both born and raised. They quickly fell in love, and Millie did not stop loving Joss when he revealed that he was transgender. Joss’ birth named was Josephine Moore.

Joss and Millie soon married, and Millie agreed not to tell Joss’ secret to anyone. Millie was white, and Joss was black, so there was some societal disapproval of their marriage. However, Millie’s family grew to like and accept Joss. Joss began to gain success and fame as a jazz trumpet player, and he soon became internationally famous. They adopted a child and named him Colman; Colman was mixed-race, half-black and half-white. In his youth, Colman had a contentious relationship with his parents. He felt intimidated by Joss’ fame and success, and thus Colman felt generally unmotivated.

At the time of Joss’ death. Colman is living in London and working as a courier. Colman did not know Joss was transgender, and Colman learned this information from the undertaker who prepared Joss’ body for burial. A reporter named Sophie Stones approaches Colman and asks to interview him, as she wants to write a biography of Joss. Sophie is very career-focused, and she believes that the biography will gain her money and notoriety. Colman agrees to help her, in part because she agrees to pay him, and in part because he fells the urge to talk about Joss and their father-son relationship.

Sophie interviews Colman as well as other people who were close to Joss at different points in Joss’ life. Sophie locates Edith Moore, Joss’ mother. Edith lives alone in a Scottish town near Glasgow. Like Millie, Edith is a white woman who married a black man and who faced some societal disapproval because of it. Edith is a widow now. Colman goes to Edith’s house to interview her about Joss’ childhood. Joss never told Edith that he was transgender. Colman does not reveal this information to her, nor does he tell her that Joss is now dead. Colman ultimately feels guilty for helping Sophie, and he decides to stop. He also decides to posthumously forgive Joss for their familial dysfunction.

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This section contains 462 words
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