978-0-385-47530-3 / 9780385475303

Minor Characters





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About the book:

National Book Critics Circle Award-winner,  Minor Characters has deservedly become  known among the cognoscenti as a classic about the  1950s, a vivid and compelling memoir of one  woman's coming of age amidst the angels and poets of  the Beat Generation. The friend and lover of Jack  Kerouac during the two years surrounding the  publication of On The Road --the book  that made him suddenly and forever famous--Johnson  describes with penetrating insight the circle of  rebellious visionaries of which she became a part:  Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, LeRoi Jones,  Gregory Corso. But more than just chronicling the drama  of her life with a diffident and often drunken  Kerouac, Johnson describes the roles that she and the  other women in her circle played as companions and  acolytes to their male muses, women who set aside  their own needs and ambitions, for a time, even as  they searched to find their own voices and shape  their own lives. As Christopher Lehmann-Haupt  wrote in The New York Times,  Johnson "has brought to life what history may  ultimately judge to have been minor characters, but who  were to her own generation major enough to shape  its consciousness." Anchor Books is proud to  be reissuing Minor Characters  with a new introduction by the author that helps to  place the Beat Generation in the context of the  1990s.

"Realistic rather than  flamboyant, Johnson succeeds in portraying the  Beats not as oddities or celebrities but as  individuals. In wry retrospect, she recognizes the folly  of young women rebelling against their well-meaning  parents only to become subservient to indifferent  men."--The New Yorker  

"Johnson writes of Dostoevskian  evenings, of Kerouac's disastrous confrontation  with fame...of the major Beat voices and the minor  characters, their women. It's a terrific book,  rich and beautifully written, full of vivid portraits  and evocations."--San Francisco  Chronicle

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