In alternating chapters that reveal a nascent period in their development as two of the twentieth century's most influential writers, Beat Generation icons William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac's And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is an electrifying true-life mystery, including afterword by James Grauerholtz in Penguin Modern Classics. This is a hardboiled crime vel, and a true story. In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, then still unkwn writers, were both arrested following a murder: one of their friends had stabbed ather and then come to them for advice - neither had told the police. Later they wrote this fictionalised account of that summer - of a group of friends in wartime New York, moving through each other's apartments, drinking, necking, talking and taking drugs and haphazardly drifting towards a bloody crime. Unpublished for years, And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks is a remarkable insight into the lives and literary development of two great writers. If you enjoyed And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks, you might like Kerouac's On the Road, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The vel that kicked it all off' Independent 'An insight into Kerouac before he went on the road and Burroughs before his drug use spiralled out of control, this is a major literary event' GQ
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. Educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell, he decided to become a writer at age seventeen and developed his own writing style, which he called 'spontaneous prose'. He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat Generation, most memorably in On the Road and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His other works include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. Jack Kerouac died in 1969. William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. To escape those conditions, and in particular his treatment as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1950, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognised as one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died in 1997.