I Wanted to Live in That Music: Blues, Bessie Smith, and Improvised Identities in Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees

In Ann-Marie MacDonald's novel Fall On Your Knees, women improvisers (including a fictitious character based on Bessie Smith) use their music to transcend both conventional musical practices and gender roles. In Sidall's reading of MacDonald's book, Smith is a viable role model in life as much in fiction, since she "signif[ies] that kind of freedom to imagine, and even create, new communities."

Site Section: 
Resource Type: 
Jazz by Style: 
Additional Keywords: 
African-American identity, African-American women, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Bessie Smith, blues, blues history, costume, cross-dressing, drag, dress, gender, improvisation, Jesse Hogan, literature, masculinity, politics, racism, singers, vocalists, women