Minor Characters. Joyce Johnson, Jack Kerouac.
Minor Characters
Minor Characters
Minor Characters
Minor Characters

Minor Characters

ISBN: 0395325137
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1983. First Edition. Hardcover. “There was a newsstand at Sixty-sixth street and Broadway right at the entrance to the subway…According to Viking, there was going to be a review. ‘Maybe it’ll be terrific. Who knows?’ I said. Jack said he was doubtful. Still, we could stop at Donnelly’s on the way back and have a beer. We saw the papers come off the truck. The old man at the stand cut the brown cord with a knife and we bought the one on the top of the pile and stood under a streetlamp turning pages until we found “Books of the Times.” I felt dizzy reading [Gilbert] Millstein’s first paragraph—like going up on a Ferris wheel too quickly and dangling out over space, laughing and gasping at the same time. Jack was silent. After he’d read the whole thing, he said, ‘It’s good, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘It’s very, very good.’ It was all very thrilling—but frightening, too. I’d read lots of reviews in my two years in publishing. None of them made pronouncements like this about history. What would history demand of Jack? What would a generation expect of its avatar? I remember wishing Allen was around to make sense of all this, instead of being in Paris. Jack kept shaking his head. He didn’t look happy, exactly, but strangely puzzled, as if he couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t happier than he was. We returned to the apartment to go back to sleep. Jack lay down obscure for the last time in his life. The ringing phone woke him the next morning and he was famous.” (Abridged Quote from pg. 185). It is safe to say that this book will exceed the expectations of anyone who reads it—Joyce Johnson is not to be overlooked, a truly excellent writer (as exemplified by the passage above). The perspective she writes from is not only richly informed by her status as Jack’s then-girlfriend (enabling her to see all of this as it was happening and provide accurate reportage), but she really was a full-fledged member of the friend group, the “…Beat orbit of Jack Kerouac,” as the book’s subtitle accurately states. The book contains ground-level access to information you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Consider Elise Cowen, for example—one of Ginsberg’s only female lovers and a dear friend of Joyce’s. The dynamics of Allen’s relationship with Elise are really brought into focus in this book. For anyone interested in the rise of the Beat Generation, the story of the publication of On the Road, or the plight of a woman in 1950s America, this book is a must-read. [ISBN: 0-395-32513-7]. Hardcover in price-clipped dust jacket, first edition, first printing as indicated by number sequence on copyright page. This copy also includes an original publisher’s packing slip from Houghton-Mifflin Company addressed to a book reviewer. Book in fine condition with only moderate spotting to text block, some small red smudges to boards esp. near rightmost fine-edge & corners of front cover. Dust-jacket in very fine condition with only minor shelf-wear, slight rubbing to fine-edges & corners of front, back covers; minute chipping to same. Fine / Very Fine. [Item #4637]

Price: $45.00

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