Author(s): Jack Kerouac
In 1944, twenty-two year old Jack Kerouac lost a novella-length manuscript called The Haunted Life. It turned up thirteen years later in a Columbia University dormitory, and then in 2002, at a Sotheby's auction house. Now, 70 years after Kerouac wrote it, his second novel will be published for the first time. The Haunted Life is the coming-of-age story of Peter Martin, a college track star determined to idle away what he knows will be one of his last innocent summers in his tranquil New England home town. But with the war escalating in Europe and his two closest friends both plotting their escapes, he realises how sheltered his upbringing has been. As he surveys the competing influences of his youth, he struggles to determine what might lead to an intellectually authentic life. The Haunted Life is ultimately a meditation on intellectual truth, male friendship and the desire for movement - all themes that would dominate Kerouac's later work.
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. In 1947, enthused by bebop, the rebel attitude of his friend Neal Cassady, and the throng of hobos, drug addicts and hustlers he encountered in New York, he decided to discover America and hitchhike across the country. Among his many novels are On the Road, Visions of Cody, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He died in 1969.