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Jack Kerouac's 'lost novel' published

books Updated: Nov 28, 2011 07:19 IST

AFP
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The first book from iconic American writer Jack Kerouac, which went unpublished and considered "lost" in his lifetime, was finally published on Thursday.

The original 158-page handwritten manuscript was Kerouac's first novel, begun when the writer -- most famous for his free-wheeling trip across America captured in "On The Road" -- kept a journal of life at sea as a merchant marine, in 1942, when he was just 20 years old.

"The Sea is My Brother: The Lost Novel," published by Penguin Classics, showcases a young Kerouac's gritty talent, which would later bloom during the late 1950s "beat" movement.

He died in 1969 at age 47 from an internal hemorrhage caused after many years of heavy drinking.

The newly-published novel follows the character of Wesley Martin, a man Kerouac said "loved the sea with a strange, lonely love; the sea is his brother and sentences. He goes down," according to Penguin.

In notes found for the book, Kerouac envisioned the characters as "the vanishing American, the big free by, the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes," Penguin said.

The book is, in Kerouac's words, about a "man's simple revolt from society as it is, with the inequalities, frustration, and self-inflicted agonies."