Author's Note from the new ebook edition, available here from Bev Editions . . . .
“The secret Canadian life of Jack Kerouac.” So said the headline in Maclean’s magazine. A subhead elaborated: “Reading Kerouac’s lost French writings reveals the travails of a Canuck in America.” The date was June 2016, and I could only scratch my head. Secret Canadian life? I had published a novel highlighting that life in . . . would you believe 1993?
When I laughed about this on Facebook, a couple of friends asked if my novel was available as an ebook. I had to say no. In 2007, I did publish a revised, Satori Magic Edition via Print on Demand (see Introduction below), but that was it. My people said, hey, there’s a whole new audience out there.
In recent years, I have written mostly non-fiction. But early in my writing career, after completing an MFA at University of British Columbia, I published three novels. Kerouac’s Ghost is the only one I still like. It’s a first novel, a coming-of-age novel, a bit rough around the edges, but I find it playful and inventive and technically entertaining. Jacket copy describes it this way . . . .
Jack Kerouac, legendary King of the Beats, turns up raving in this kaleidoscopic novel about an obsessive survivor of the Psychedelic Sixties. Set mostly in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco and atop Mount Jubilation in the Canadian Rockies, the narrative shuttles from Quebec to New York City, and from California into the Timeless Void of the Golden Eternity. It juggles time-lines and narrators, asserts that Jack Kerouac is BIGGER than Beat, and celebrates Great Walking Sainthood.
The novel is resolutely unfashionable. But it has survived several incarnations, and a couple of different titles, and it arrives like a message in a bottle from another world. Because the main story-line plunges us into 1966, this digital edition marks a 50th anniversary. I have revived the better title, Kerouac’s Ghost, and poked away at the Satori Magic Edition (introduced below).
For the rest, we have here A Novel of the Nineteen-Sixties, Psychedelic San Francisco, Dharma Bums in the Rockies, the Jungian Self, Too Much Drinking and Drugging, the Quebec-French Complication, Also Known as the Secret Canadian Life, and the Quest for Great Walking Sainthood. . . .