Kerouac’s ‘lost’ first novel on sale in Slovakia
Although Jack Kerouac has been dead for more than forty years now, his spirit lives on and continues to surprise his fans. In 2007 the unexpurgated scroll of On the Road was released for the first time and a few years later his ‘lost’ novel The Sea is My Brother resurfaced.
The Slovak publisher Artforum was the first to publish it on May 14, 2010. It overtook not only the Czech publisher Argo, who is only in the process of looking for the translator, but, surprisingly, also the American and British publishers, who are to publish the book in early November.
The Sea is my Brother appears to share the spirit of On the Road and Kerouac’s early Beat philosophy. It follows the fortunes of Martin Wesley, a man who ‘loved the sea with a strange, lonely love,’ and university lecturer Bill Everhart. Although the men are diametrically opposite to each other, they both share similarities with Kerouac himself. The meeting with Wesley is life-changing for Everhart. The teacher, fascinated by his new friend’s broad-mindedness and simplicity, heads for the sea with him.
In this early novel about loneliness and a search for love in an unpleasant world Kerouac seems to be gathering breath for his insurmountable masterpiece. “I’m on the road,” says one of Kerouac’s protagonists in The Sea is my Brother, thus unwittingly inventing the title of a book that was to become a literary legend ten years later.