Jack's Book by Barry Gifford

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Here, in what has become a classic of its kind since its publication in 1978, is the fascinating story of an American literary legend, recorded through the voices of the friends and lovers of Jack Kerouac, "King of the Beats." Authors Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee retraced Keoruac's life at home and on the road, and talked with the prophets, musicians, poets, socialites, and working people who knew Jack Kerouac. Some are famous (Allen Ginsberg, Gore Vidal, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, among others), some are not (Jack's boyhood buddies, his lovers, his barroom companions). All have contributed to a remarkably vibrant, riveting portrait of a life. We see Jack at Columbia University and on the scene of Greenwich Village; speeding across the tarmac of America with Neal Cassidy ("Dan Moriarty" in Keorac's classic novel, On the Road); at home with his possessive mother; in California, drinking wine and talking Buddhism; and finally, in Florida, where his life ends tragically at age forty-seven. Jack's Book, like Kerouac's novels, makes a unique contribution to our understanding of a man and a generation that shaped the dreams and visions of those who followed.


About Barry Gifford

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Barry Gifford’s is a literary lion whose novels have been translated into twenty-five languages and who's been the recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, and the Writers Guild of America. His novel "Wild at Heart" was turned into a David Lynch film, and he co-wrote the screenplays for "Lost Highway" (1997) and "City of Ghosts" (2003). His more recent books, "Wyoming" and "The Phantom Father" were named the "Los Angeles Times" Novel of the Year and a "New York Times" notable Book of the Year, respectively. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lawrence Lee was a Peabody Award-winning San Francisco journalist who also co-wrote with Gifford the brilliant and brilliantly received "Saroyan: A Biography." He died in 1990.
Published January 1, 1978 by St. Martin's Press. 339 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jack's Book

Seattle PI

If Kerouac's books taken altogether form one long narrative ("one vast book") of his life as he saw it (an idea he often seems to have expressed in conversation), Jack's Book creates a portrait of that life as those around him saw it.

Apr 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Jack's Book