A swimming star in college during the Depression, Jake Davidson bulls his way through life, with his native Chicago as the...

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WINDY CITY

A swimming star in college during the Depression, Jake Davidson bulls his way through life, with his native Chicago as the perfect bullring. He falls in as easily among gangsters as among Communist girls free with their favors; rich Jewish bankers put him through Northwestern; he has access to gin mills, posh cathouses, and Capone-run gambling dens. After the writing bug bites him, he hoboes around to get some requisite experience and piles up rejected manuscripts--but he's not one easily deterred, our Jake. He follows Natasha, one of his many inspiring ladies, to New York, where he writes sports for the Daily Worker until they fire him and drop sports (""whipped cream on a picket line"") from the paper. Back in Chicago, he joins the WPA's Federal Writers' Project, does some modestly successful radio dramas, marries an artist named Rhoda, and when the war starts, joins the Navy. His sea-travails, vividly well depicted by Ross, give him subject matter that, cast in a novel, finally gets him published. Will he or won't he sell out to Hollywood? That becomes Jake's big question. Veteran Ross writes this unsubtly autobiographical saga with zest and no particular organization beyond this-and-that-and-then; so it's no Augie March, despite the similarities of place, character, and length. But it is frank, pell-mell, and very readable. ""You're obvious, no bullshit about you, and let's go""--that's what one of Jake's obliging women tells him, and many obliging readers can enjoy Sam Ross (The Fortune Machine, Solomon's Palace) on just about the same terms.

Pub Date: July 16, 1979

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1979