The Subterraneans

The Subterraneans

By (author) Jack Kerouac , Introduction by Ann Douglas


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The Subterraneans haunt the bars and clubs of San Francisco, surviving on a diet of booze and benzedrine, Proust and Verlaine. Living amongst them is Leo, an aspiring writer, and Mardou, half-Indian, half-Negro, beautiful and neurotic. Their bitter-sweet and ill-starred love affair sees Kerouac at his most evocative. Many regard this as being Kerouac's most touching and tender book.

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  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 14mm | 99.79g
  • 01 Sep 2007
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 0141184892
  • 9780141184890
  • 18,851

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Author Information

Jack Kerouac wrote a number of highly influential and popular novels - most famously the international best-seller ON THE ROAD - and is remembered as one of the key figures of the legendary Beat generation. As much as anything, he came to represent a philosophy, a way of life.

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Review text

..... live in the alleys of San Francisco- smoking tea- and talking of Wolfe and Baudelaire and Pound and peote- and listening to bop. And this is the Joycean and/or junk-induced free-for-all recall of one of them, an "unself-confident egomaniac" Leo Percepied (Canuck) and his involvement with the Negro (part Cherokee) Mardou Fox whose "glittering glee eyes" reveal that she'd flipped and is still under therapy but whose warm brown body and feet "in thongs of sandals of such sexuality- looking-greatness" make him want to make her, which he does, so that he drinks less and stops writing altogether until he loses her when he goes on to writing this which in all the giddy gratification and laceration of words in also foully phallic and probably as good an example of how far you can go in print without the benefit of punctuation let alone taste. (Kirkus Reviews)

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