Last week, Jack Kerouac‘s first novel, The Sea is My Brother, was finally published (Penguin, UK) 40 years after his death and 70 years after it was written. Long thought to be lost forever, the freshman novel was supposedly discovered by Kerouac’s brother-in-law in the Kerouac Archive.
There were many reasons for the book’s failure to be published during the author’s lifetime. Not the least of which was Kerouac’s opinion that the novel was a “crock of shit as literature”. Contemporary reviewers are not much kinder. The Guardian newspaper wrote “The writing should be entered in a bad prose competition.”
Along with Kerouac’s slim volume, last week saw the publication of a previously “lost” novel by Roberto Bolaño called The Third Reich. Thought to have been written in the late 1990s, the novel was serialized by the Paris Review in 2010, but has just been released in book form.
Finally, if you are a dedicated reader of this blog, you may remember that the long lost first novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Narrative of John Smith, was finally published by the British Library in October after being redicovered following a 130 year absence.