This novella by the late, great Jack Kerouac had been presumed missing in a New York taxi cab.
It miraculously reappeared and now--70 years after it was first written--has been published. Ten years after he wrote The Haunted Life, Kerouac would be forever immortalized after publishing
On the Road, not only his defining moment but the book that would forever change the landscape for all Beat writers and the counterculture landscape far and wide.
The Haunted Life is not On the Road. It is one of his earliest works, and while it shows hints of the amazing writer who would later emerge, it is by-and-large a work in process for a wordsmith who was still looking for his identity.
But for any Kerouac fan, it is definitely worth checking out. Like a butterfly busting out from a cocoon, the writer is testing his wings, and brief glimpses appear here and there. In one passage he writes,
"Peter, grinning, went out to the screened porch and sat in the creaking hammock. It was a chilly night, thick with odorous dew, swarming with stars and cricket sounds. The radio blared behind; across the street, in the cluster of trees where he had played as a boy, fireflies blinked erratically. Over the cooling fields toward the Merrimac River a train whistle howled."
This is a sublime and lush paragraph full of the magical and poignant imagery Kerouac would become famous for. This is certainly worth reading because even a fledgling Kerouac is better than most fully-formed writers.