7 October 2005 The Guardian


By Grace Barnes. A Skeklers review.

IT'S all very well for Rebecca Loos and Darren Day to make like the opposite sex for an afternoon in Channel 5's Gender Swap, but could anyone do it permanently? In Jackie Kay's 1998 novel Trumpet, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize, Joss Moody is a celebrated black jazz-man, whose death brings to light a bizarre secret: the coroner unravels the bandages to reveal his all- too-female breasts. The novel, set in the aftermath of Moody's death, is less about cross-dressing than about grief. Moody's wife Millie, the one person to share his secret, is forbidden to grieve by a society convinced she's been "living a lie". Their adopted son, Colman, is too traumatised by the news that his dad was a woman to be able to lament his passing.

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