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The Haunted Life: and Other Writings Hardcover – March 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st edition (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306823047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306823046
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


12 Spring Books Not To Miss, Library Journal

Hudson Valley News, 3/5/14
“This one brought back a slew of memories.”

Below the Fold, 3/4/14
“A surprisingly readable, tightly traditional narrative built around the dialogue of the main characters.”

Los Angeles Review of Books, 3/25/14
“Tietchen’s informed detailing of the novella’s history provides an exciting look into Kerouac’s formative years…The Haunted Life and Other Writings can best be understood as part of a whole, addressing this crucial period of his personal and creative development, that ultimately shifted the direction of American literature in the 1950s.”

Providence Sunday Journal, 6/15/14
“A very satisfying introduction to Kerouac’s attempts at finding his voice and vision as a writer…The prose is remarkably clear-eyed, romantic, cynical and full of adolescent angst… we see a great writer shaping, trying out his various tools and techniques…and we glimpse the young writer desperate to hit the open road, readying himself for a new world full of existential doubt, lyrical epiphanies and the longings of a younger soul.”

About 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.

Todd F. Tietchen is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where he teaches courses in Beat writing and contemporary American literature. He is the author of The Cubalogues: Beat Writers in Revolutionary Havana, along with numerous articles on American art, literature, and intellectual history.  
 

Customer Reviews

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jym Cherry on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost. Ernest Hemingway famously lost the only draft of the first short stories he ever wrote on a French train. Most writers have ‘lost’ manuscripts, conspicuously placed in quotes because those stories for whatever reason the writer has are socked away until after their deaths (interestingly Hemingway also falls into this category). Kerouac’s “The Haunted Life” falls into the category of the truly lost. He didn’t know where it had gotten off to, he thought he might have left it in the backseat of a NY taxi-cab, or maybe that was just a nod to Hemingway’s lost manuscript and Kerouac’s own self-mythologization. What happened was the manuscript of “The Haunted Life” was left in a Columbia College closet, perhaps Allen Ginsberg’s. Luckily, whomever found it held onto it, and has now made it’s way to publication.

“The Haunted Life” as Kerouac had it planned was going to be a three part novel chronicling the effects of war on society. The individual sections were to be called ‘Home,’ ‘War,’ and ‘Changes.’ It is the ‘Home’ fragment that has survived. It is a “day in the life” of college student Peter Martin home for the summer, he visits friends, walks around the town, meets a girl he’s interested in, and meets his father at a bar. There is not much overt action, but a lot going on in Kerouac’s portrayal of the characters. Just as the last chapter of the first section is hitting a crescendo, and you’re ready to read what comes after that…it ends. Kerouac does display some virtuoso skill for a neophyte work. One section that stands out is the dramatization of the passage of time through life illustrated in the span of morning until noon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul C Nason on May 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing writing for Kerouac's very early writing stage.
If written today, nothing would change, in the content.
Jack was an amazing writer.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Maher on May 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
SEVENTY YEARS AGO, in May 1944, Jack Kerouac toiled over a novella-length work set in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was written at the prompting of his two newest friends, the mischievous nihilist Lucien Carr, and the budding poet Allen Ginsberg. He titled it The Haunted Life and it was never finished. On March 12, 2014, it was published on what would have been Jack Kerouac's 92nd birthday.

In 1942, Kerouac wanted to tell the same story, focusing the blade of the narrative on the after-effects of World War II on an "average American youth [named Peter Martin] in an average American town." For The Haunted Life, he recycled the Martin moniker and moved its time period backwards to presage the war, back when two of his boyhood friends still had their lives and a future ahead of them.

Martin first appeared as one of three brothers in some penciled notes Kerouac made for a planned 1942 novel. Peter is the youngest at 21 years old. He, like Kerouac, is prone to daydreaming and hypersensitivity. He is irresponsible and reckless (as was Kerouac deep in his cups), a Whitmanic loafer and lover. Martin considers himself a poet and an inveterate hitchhiker. His first stab at independence is in a small cockroach-infested apartment in Hartford, Connecticut, earning his keep as a grease monkey at a local filling station. When he isn't working, Peter types a stream of impressionistic short stories on a rented Underwood. In a short prose piece included in The Haunted Life titled "The Odyssey of Peter Martin," Kerouac further describes the wayward young man who transparently assumes the Kerouacian trademarks to come:

Before the war, young Peter Martin was of course not conscious of great and sorrowful change.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JesseBeans on September 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Bought this as a gift for my boyfriend and he is loving it.
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More About the Author

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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