STRIKE THE FATHER DEAD by John Wain

STRIKE THE FATHER DEAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Seventeen year old Jeremy Coleman goes off one day with his Greek grammar astride his handlebars and peddles through the English countryside. He sees a bird, feels the grass, and quickens to life! The boy tears up the book and goes off to the big city to play jazz on the piano. There is, of course, a scandal because Jeremy is the son of Alfred Coleman, a respected classic scholar, a duty-oriented don who has given his whole life to study and responsibility. Alfred wants Jeremy back but only on his stifling, uncompromising terms. In the city, the boy meets Percy, a hulking Negro horn man whom he comes to . It is with Percy and only with Percy that Jeremy can communicate. Percy Brett played at Minton's until he joined the RAF and cut out on second-class citizenship. There are up's and down's in Jeremy's fortune but making music remains the ultimate commitment through the years. After a brutal beating at the hands of some racist thugs who were out to get his Negro friend, Jeremy lies in an English hospital. His father comes to visit and they reach each other for the first time. The young Jazzman realizes that his own isolating commitment is not very different from that chosen by his father, or his father's father, but that each ""religion"" was incommunicable to the rebel. In the midst of the rock and rolling Teddy boys, Jeremy Coleman's language pales... The author's story is a consistently lively one. It is told by Jeremy himself, by his father, and by the old maid aunt who brought him up. Unfortunately, only the pianist himself rings almost true. The aunt is a more convenience. The old man ranges from utterly incomprehensible to blatantly hackneyed. Wain has still far to go.

Publisher: St Martin's Press