The Haunted Life: And Other Writings

The Haunted Life: And Other Writings

by Jack Kerouac
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac. In March, his close friend and literary confidant, Sebastian Sampas, lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic. That spring—still reeling with grief over Sebastian—Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, offsetting the…  See more details below

Overview


1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac. In March, his close friend and literary confidant, Sebastian Sampas, lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic. That spring—still reeling with grief over Sebastian—Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, offsetting the loss of Sampas by immersing himself in New York's blossoming mid-century bohemia. That August, however, Carr stabbed his longtime acquaintance and mentor David Kammerer to death in Riverside Park, claiming afterwards that he had been defending his manhood against Kammerer's persistent and unwanted advances. Kerouac was originally charged in Kammerer'a killing as an accessory after the fact as a result of his aiding Carr in disposing of the murder weapon and Kammerer's eyeglasses. Consequently, Kerouac was jailed in August 1944 and married his first wife, Edie Parker, on the twenty-second of that month in order to secure the money he needed for his bail bond. Eventually the authorities accepted Carr's account of the killing, trying him instead for manslaughter and thus nullifying the charges against Kerouac. At some point later in the year—under circumstances that remain rather mysterious—the aspiring writer lost a novella-length manuscript titled The Haunted Life, a coming of age story set in Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Kerouac set his fictional treatment of Peter Martin against the backdrop of the everyday: the comings and goings of the shopping district, the banter and braggadocio that occurs within the smoky atmospherics of the corner bar, the drowsy sound of a baseball game over the radio. Peter is heading into his sophomore year at Boston College, and while home for the summer in Galloway he struggles with the pressing issues of his day—the economic crisis of the previous decade and what appears to be the impending entrance of the United States into the Second World War. The other principal characters, Garabed Tourian and Dick Sheffield, are based respectively on Sebastian Sampas and fellow Lowellian Billy Chandler, both of whom had already died in combat by the time of Kerouac's drafting of The Haunted Life (providing some of the impetus for its title). Garabed is a leftist idealist and poet, with a pronounced tinge of the Byronic. Dick is a romantic adventurer whose wanderlust has him poised to leave Galloway for the wider world—with or without Peter. The Haunted Life also contains a compelling and controversial portrayal of Jack's father, Leo Kerouac, recast as Joe Martin. Opposite of Garabed's progressive, New Deal persepctive, Joe is a right-wing and bigoted populist, and an ardent admirer of radio personality Father Charles Coughlin. The conflicts of the novella are primarily intellectual, then, as Peter finds himself suspended between the differing views of history, politics, and the world embodied by the other three characters, and struggles to define what he believes to be intellectually true and worthy of his life and talents.

The Haunted Life, skillfully edited by University of Massachusetts at Lowell Assistant Professor of English Todd F. Tietchen, is rounded out by sketches, notes, and reflections Kerouac kept during the novella's composition, as well as a revealing selection of correspondence with his father, Leo Kerouac.

Read More

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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781480583948
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
03/28/2014
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >