A DROP OF PATIENCE by William M. Kelley


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Never having tasted, touched or smelled any difference between black and white skin, Ludlow Washington was particularly confused by color prejudice and the restrictions that governed his life as a sightless Negro musician. Blind at birth, institutionalized and abandoned at 5, his ability as an instrumentalist won his release at 16 from the training school where he had not been taught anything about family life, love or the basic facts of sex. He learned about the last most quickly. His jazz career started in a dive of a Southern Negro nightclub. His two years there confirmed his talent and taught him a sexual efficiency that had nothing to do with love. Trapped into marriage, a father at 18 and a deserting husband at 19, Ludlow's initial innocence had hardened into a glibly attacking verbal cynicism masking his bewildered suffering. This short ironic novel follows him to the age of 36, through the years of a total nervous breakdown and past the peak of his career. The author of A Different Drummer and Dancers on the Shore is a disciplined storyteller with outstanding skill at characterization.

Publisher: Doubleday