Author(s): William S. Burroughs & Jack Kerouac
In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were charged as accessories to murder. One of their friends, Lucien Carr, had stabbed another, David Kammerrer, whose sexual advances he'd seemingly grown tired of rejecting. Carr, still in bloodstained clothes, had come to each of them and confessed; Kerouac helped him get rid of the weapon - neither told the police. For this failing they were arrested. Months later the two writers - unpublished at the time - collaborated on "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks", a fictionalized account of the summer of the killing. They wrote alternating chapters - Burroughs writing as sometime bartender and workaday detective Will Dennison, Kerouac as Mike Ryko, an Irish merchant seaman.From this intensely personal material they made a hard-boiled account of a group of friends moving through each other's apartments, killing time drinking, necking, talking and taking drugs, and haphazardly drifting towards a bloody crime - flabby, likeable Ramsey Allen trailing after the beautiful Phillip Tourian, constantly angering him with his endless desire to please.
William S. Burroughs was born in 1914. His first published novel was the largely autobiographical Junky, which remains a classic depiction of the constant cycle of drug dependency, cures and relapses he was victim to for most of his life. In 1951, in a drunken William Tell stunt, he accidentally shot and killed his common law wife. He is most famous for his use of the 'cut-up' technique of writing and the novel Naked Lunch. His other major works included Queer, Exterminator!, the 'Nova Trilogy' (The Soft Machine, Nova Express and The Ticket That Exploded) and the 'Red Night Trilogy' (Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roads and The Western Lands). He died in 1997. Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. In 1947, enthused by bebop, the rebel attitude of his friend Neal Cassady, and the throng of hobos, drug addicts and hustlers he encountered in New York, he decided to discover America and hitchhike across the country. His writing was openly autobiographical and he developed a style he referred to as 'spontaneous prose' which he used to record the experiences of the Beat Generation. Among his many novels are On the Road, Visions of Cody, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He died in 1969.