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The Haunted Life: and Other Writings Hardcover – March 11, 2014
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
“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.Read more ›
Quite early on in the novella, Kerouac throws around many terms with little to no reason to do so. This is especially prevalent while Garabed and Peter are talking. “Poor Garabed […] you don’t dare read Freud for fear of upsetting your emotional habits. Dostoevsky terrifies you with his Slavic portraits that remind you too much of yourself […] ugliness when it storms you, will destroy your sapphire and leave you a hollow shell!” (Kerouac 52-53) What makes this ridiculous, is that the two characters are talking about the moon and its beauty, and Freud and Dostoevsky are getting thrown around, when they have no reason to be used in the first place.
Of course, superfluous fluff and poor writing aren’t only seen in dialogue, they can also be seen in thoughts and descriptions too.Read more ›
Peter feels that the freedom of his youth will soon give way to mortgages and responsibilities and a job that will snuff his dreams. He’s determined to enjoy his summer. The story describes his life that summer. For example, one evening his childhood friend Garabed knocks on the window of his room, luring him out after sunset to walk the neighborhood and discuss poetry, travel, and the limitless nature of mankind. At a café, Garabed eats four hamburgers. The sun comes up and Garabed goes home, but Peter walks into town alone with a plan. Intoxicated by exhaustion, he explores the stores and talks giddily to acquaintances. The simple small town is a wonder to him. At nine o’clock in the morning he goes into a bar, drinks shots of liquor and glasses of beer. While drinking his sixth beer, his father happens to come in, slaps him on the back, and sits next to him at the bar. They talk about horse races. His father drinks a few beers then walks to his job selling insurance. The last of Peter’s energy is spent. He takes the bus home and dreams in a drowse.
For admirers of Kerouac’s work, The Haunted Life is an interesting exhibit of the writer’s talents before they were in full bloom. It lacks the dynamism and edge of his later work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
whenever an author's work enjoys renewed popularity several decades after their death, there always seems to be lost manuscripts that bubble to the surface. Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by bender
Amazing writing for Kerouac's very early writing stage.
If written today, nothing would change, in the content.
Jack was an amazing writer.
SEVENTY YEARS AGO, in May 1944, Jack Kerouac toiled over a novella-length work set in Lowell, Massachusetts. Read morePublished on May 1, 2014 by Paul Maher Jr.