The manuscript, named after a line from a news story about a fire at a circus, was rejected by publishers and confined to a filing cabinet for decades. Now, for the first time, this legendary collaboration between two of the 20th century's most influential writers is being released. Both a fascinating piece of American literary history and an engrossing, atmospheric novel, it brings to life a shocking murder at the dawn of the Beat Generation.
©2008 the Estate of Jack Kerouac and the William S. Burroughs Trust; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
if you've read the schpeel and know it's about a murder then that is the only interesting bit spoilt, it is also dealt with in the last 20mins. This is not hard-boiled and full of sex and violence but a few dreary fumblings and a murder that is bearly mentioned. It doesnt tick any box, not pulpy enough to be pulp, not artistic or poetic enough to be art. The 2 writer's different viewpoints and styles is a little interesting but nothing really happens. There is a great story to be told, just look up the real murder on wikipedia. And if wikipedia do a better job than, not one, but two writers you are doing something wrong. Love the title but this should have never seen the light of day
It was all just aimless and I was just waiting to get to the murder that was spoilt in the blurb
I would open with the murder (as promised on the back of the book), then present flashbacks to how it got to that point. The obsessions, the relationships between characters, the creepiness. Little things suggested in the beginning of the book, playing out to the final outcome. Things develop to a feverpitch, present it as a suspense novel. None of that is in this novel.
It could have been a Hitchcockian style thriller suspense, or a good character study, or an atmospheric portrayal of New York in 1944. But it is none of those.
"Pre-Beat Lit, instant classic!"
I was skeptic... lost book? Burroughs and Kerouac? Does the phrase "too good to be true" come to mind. Yet, to my delight, this could turn out to be one of my favorite pieces of midcentury counter-culture lit. Jack and William take turns with chapters, allowing a really neat multi-perspective view of the controversial plot. Ray does a great job reading, as usual. The epilogue is a great treat, the true story behind the novel.
"Not a great story."
Put into the context of a biography written many years before the characters/authors of the Beat Generation, this story is interesting.
As a stand alone piece, the story is not very good.
historical, shocking, honest
The movement between chapters made it impossible to stop listening.
I felt like I was listening to the authors telling their story.
Dare I say this may be my favorite Kerouac?
I wish I had read the other reviews before I bought this. It's awful. I can't even finish it and I ALWAYS finish any book I've started. It just makes no sense; it's very difficult to follow along.
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