Barbells and Saxophone

David Ritz, Author, David Ritz, Other Dutton Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55611-158-7
Taking center stage in a novel bursting with vitality, New Yorker Vince Viola is a 25-year-old saxophone player, body-builder, womanizer and bird lover. Both immature and tough, he is appalled by the idea of selling out: though temptations abound, he refuses to play anything but pure jazz, no funk, no glitz; he won't pose for Playgirl magazine, although it would make his career; he can't bear to see his parents, friends or heroes compromise their integrity. The novel opens with Vince talking to a psychiatrist about his divorced parents: bullying, macho Pop (Mr. Olympia of 1948) and beauty parlor-proprietor, overprotective Mom, soon to be a women's wrestling impresario. The same evening, Vince gets in a fight with his girlfriend, she leaves and, deprived of this stabilizing force, he tumbles down an unbelievable, but highly entertaining, staircase of musical, romantic and familial hells. From L.A. to London, Rome, Vancouver and New York, Vince loves and loses, eventually accepting the limitations and frailties in himself, and in those around him. Ritz's ( Blue Notes Under a Green Felt Hat ) compelling, seriocomic story especially soars in its evocative feel for the music that drives its protagonist. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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