FIRST PRINTING 1963
FIRST PUBLISHED BY MACMILLAN & CO 1962
The 'hero' of John Wain's latest novel is a young man called Jeremy, who rebels against the stuffy future envisaged for him by his father, an upright Professor of Classics in a 'red-brick' university. He runs away from school at the age of seventeen and becomes a jazz pianist in a low dive club in one of the seamier haunts of London. The year is 1942.
It is during this wartime period that Jeremy meets an American negro horn-player called Percy Brett, a huge, gentle, delightful character who dominates the rest of the story. Percy teaches Jeremy what jazz can really be, and much else about life besides.
The thrill and rhythm of jazz music pervade the greater part of this extremely interesting novel. Running through it, too, is another theme : the bitter relationship between Jeremy and his austere father. Jeremy's choice of a way of life has been a terrible shock to the ageing professor ; communication between them has ceased, and the only news that filters through comes by way of occasional paragraphs in the tabloid newspapers. Yet we learn gradually that the father had himself rebelled against his father; we follow his agonies as he in turn tries to come to terms with a younger generation.