Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boston Globe review of Joyce Johnson's The Voice Is All

Click here for the Boston Globe's review of Joyce Johnson's The Voice is All, her new Kerouac biography.

Here's a paragraph from the review that struck a chord with me:
Kerouac scholarship, however, is still a rough neighborhood, where the characters bicker and bellow, sometimes acting reasonably, sometimes not, behaving like the denizens of those Pawtucketville bars Kerouac wrote about. Johnson acknowledges that “permission to quote from Jack’s unpublished papers remains restricted to writers . . . sanctioned by the Kerouac Estate.” (A few years ago I witnessed Gerald Nicosia, whose 1983 “Memory Babe’’ still reigns over the Kerouac biographies, get shouted down by functionaries of the estate when Nicosia interrupted a Kerouac conference in Lowell to protest the inaccessibility of the writer’s archive.)
"Rough neighborhood," indeed. Atkinson gets that right. Weeks ago I wrote to Viking requesting a review copy but received no answer. I guess I am not worthy (despite maintaining a Kerouac-focused blog that gets hundreds of pageviews per day); or, perhaps Viking has been told by the Estate to put me on their "shit list" given that I am friends with Gerry Nicosia (mentioned above). Don't think the latter couldn't happen. Look for more on censorship in the Kerouac world in an upcoming post. (How's that for a tease?)

Regardless, I'd love to read Joyce's book. Perhaps it will magically appear in the mail (or under the Christmas tree).

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