ROMAN JOY by Edward Stephens


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Roman Joy is a draft-dodging young California drummer during the war years in this story of big bands and orchestra chicks. Lucky Strike Green Has Gone to War and like phrases saturate the background and dialogue. Roman is a supreme egoist, liar, black marketeer, and is incapable of self-honesty. He drifts into big time music with David Eckhardt, a bandleader, composer, religious fanatic and ex-addict. We see the times through Eckhardt's music, which is so politically oriented and anti-war that Eckhardt becomes the victim of a Congressional witch hunt for fascists. The musicians in Eckhardt's band are a beat, weary crew of musical second-raters and castoffs unfit for the army. Eckhardt survives the witch hunt to become a professor of religion and music at a university, while Roman disintegrates into the small time and a life of lies. Despite nostalgic period drawing, the story seldom comes alive and the characters are stereotypes.

Publisher: Doubleday