Electric Review

Culture & Criticism Since 2003

The Lost Writings of Jack Kerouac

THE HAUNTED LIFE AND OTHER WRITINGS. Jack Kerouac. Brilliance Audio. Print Version From Da Capo Press.

Cover courtesy of Brilliance Audio.

Cover courtesy of Brilliance Audio.

Fans of novelist Jack Kerouac will hail the publication of The Haunted Life as a major event offering a naked glimpse into the origins of the man who would become the father of the literary movement that gave birth to myriad aspects of our popular culture. Kerouac wrote The Haunted Life while studying at Columbia University; it is reported that he intended it to be part of a trilogy that would delineate the journey of his family (“the Martins”) while cloaked in the relative safety of fiction. Readers should be prepared for some new information here, as The Haunted Life  depicts  the life and times of Kerouac circa 1944, providing us with the young writer’s perspective on the state of America as it whirled through the tumult of Word War II. Concurrently, Kerouac was  embroiled in a murder investigation after his friend Lucien Carr stabbed David Kammerer to death – an event which apparently led, at least in part, to his marriage to Edie Parker. Kerouac’s idea to mold The Haunted Life into a series of novellas that would  paint a picture of his buried self was quelled after he inexplicably lost the only copy of his handwritten manuscript in a cab. The Haunted Life remained lost for some 60 years until it appeared at Christies a decade ago. Now, its publication reveals much about the hidden Kerouac: countless passages are tinged with sorrow and a profound sadness, spotlighting the tormented heart of the novelist who  enlightened  the world with his honesty and lyricism. As The Haunted Life shows, Kerouac used words as mask and shield – books and poems serving as armor to protect him from the harsh realities of consciousness. Attentive readers will no doubt covet the  selected correspondence between Jack Kerouac and his father Leo which  provide a key to unlocking the mind of a writer who continues to command our rapt attention some 45-years after his death.  Performed by Liev Schreiber and Luke Daniels: Their obvious connection to Kerouac and his work contribute to a transcendental experience as words on paper swell into living breathing flames.

by John Aiello


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This entry was posted on June 3, 2014 by in 2014, In the Spotlight, June 2014, Rat On Audiobooks and tagged , , , .
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