The Haunted Life: And Other Writings

Overview

Jack Kerouac wrote The Haunted Life in 1944 when he was 22 years old and attending Columbia University. Originally intended as a three-part novel, only this first 20,000-word section was ever finished. Upon its completion, Kerouac promptly lost his only hand-written final draft in a New York taxi cab, remaining unknown to the public until its appearance at Christies about ten years ago.

Kerouac’s family has now decided to share this manuscript ...

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The Haunted Life: and Other Writings

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Overview

Jack Kerouac wrote The Haunted Life in 1944 when he was 22 years old and attending Columbia University. Originally intended as a three-part novel, only this first 20,000-word section was ever finished. Upon its completion, Kerouac promptly lost his only hand-written final draft in a New York taxi cab, remaining unknown to the public until its appearance at Christies about ten years ago.

Kerouac’s family has now decided to share this manuscript with the world.

While the entirety of the novel remained unfinished, the surviving manuscript successfully works alone as a novella with a satisfying, if open-ended, conclusion. It features a scaled-down version of the Martin family and is set in Lowell, Massachusetts, as was Kerouac’s first novel The Town and The City. Kerouac had planned on writing a cycle of novels tentatively titled An American Passed Here, which was to be set primarily in the fictional town of Galloway (based on Lowell). That cycle was to contain The Haunted Life and The Sea is My Brother, tracing the story of the Martin family throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Eventually Kerouac’s plans for his Martin cycle materialized into his first novel, The Town and the City, shortly before he moved on to compose his iconic On the Road.

Todd Tietchen, the editor of the project and the Jack Kerouac/Beat Scholar in residence at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, has assembled a number of archival documents to thicken out the context of this lost novella, documents that attest to the level of intention and care that went into Kerouac’s writing projects.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
05/26/2014
This book includes an unfinished novel by iconic Beat writer Kerouac, published here for the first time, plus a detailed overview its development, and letters from Kerouac's father. Actor Schreiber narrates only the incomplete novel, but he does much with the little he is given, capturing the tone of the prose with ease and intrigue. His deep but soft delivery works well with the straight narration, and he musters up some unique voices for the characters. The remainder of the collection is narrated by Daniels, whose performance pales in comparison to Schreiber's. Daniels's deep and gravelly voice doesn't quite fit the material. He keeps pace and projection, but the writing does not give him much chance to shine. A Da Capo hardcover. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480583917
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 5
  • Sales rank: 1,191,431
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts. The best-known of his many works, On the Road, published in 1957, was an international bestseller. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the age of forty-seven.
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