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They won't shoot this piano player. Jay is a 21-year-old graduate of a music conservatory and one offspring of a cross between a haberdasher and a canasta nut. His sister Johanna is a 23-year-old graduate of Mt. Holyoke who has conservative class. This is about what happened when ""the kinder flew the coop"" leaving their nice Jewish home for the ""Bohemia West"" of San Francisco. Soon Johanna is fighting off the King Kong tactics of one Norman Barankovtsch, a rough and all too ready. Norman, who is lovable nonetheless, gets Jay a job playing funky piano in a strip joint. Jay, meanwhile, finds outside diversions without Norman's help. There's Hester Miller with a Modigliani face and a mouth like a carnival barker who insists on playing baroque piano duets before bedtime. There's Sharon, a dipsomaniac with a wandering husband who wanders a bit herself and there's ""Thethily"" Robinson, a little lisping mystic with no chest measurement whatsoever who wants to learn to play ""bluesy-jazzy."" Some of the episodes are hilarious, particularly when Mama arrives to find out what sort of nest her fledglings have built for themselves only to be confronted with the spectacle of ants in the kitchen and Norman in the living room. Johanna finally tames her giant in Temple Beth Sholom but Jay loses his Hester to pot and a passion for remaining unattached to anything but her cat. He also loses his ""Thethily"" to a mental morgue and is left alone to face further sad funny adventures in the Golden City. It's a nice vamp all along the way and introduces a fresh talent.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1966
Publisher: Atheneum