In an interview, Kay spoke about her desire to make her story read like music. Critics have acclaimed her for accomplishing this goal in a powerful and intricate narrative without melodrama. In an article for the Boston Phoenix, David Valdes Greenwood describes it as follows: "In the hands of a less graceful writer, Jackie Kay's Trumpet would have been a polemic about gender with a dollop of race thrown in for good measure. But Kay has taken the most tabloid topic possible and produced something at once more surprising and more subtle: a rumination on the nature of love and the endurance of a family."  Time magazine calls it a "hypnotic story...about the walls between what is known and what is secret..Spare, haunting, dreamlike"; and the San Francisco Chronicle hails it "Splendid...Kay's imaginative leaps in story and language will remind some readers of a masterful jazz solo." Jackie Kay's Trumpet pushes aside the classic battles of race and politics, and opens up the touching exploration of identity on a level much deeper within the heart, in the end revealing "a broad landscape of sweet tolerance and familial love" (The New York Times Book Review).
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