Joyce Johnson on The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac | Tantorious

Tantorious is a semi-monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.

Joyce Johnson is a memoirist and novelist whose books include the recent Missing Men and the National Book Critics Circle Award–winner Minor Characters, about her relationship with legendary Beat writer Jack Kerouac. Her correspondence with Kerouac was published as Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters. Her newest book, The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac, is a groundbreaking portrait of the artist’s early years.

Excerpts from the audio interview:

Q: How did you meet Jack Kerouac?

A: On a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg in January 1957. We were both a little shy but we immediately started talking and I was very taken with him. I had just read his first novel, “The Town and the City,” and had been swept away by it. This was nine months before “On the Road” was published and he became famous. The night I met him he was still obscure, totally broke, and he had no idea what would hit him.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book now?

A: I have felt the need over the years for a different kind of biography of Jack, one that would not focus so much on the sensational aspects of his life but would have at its core the development of his writing, which had gotten lost in the shuffle of his notoriety and fame.

Listen to a sample of the Tantor audiobook edition of THE VOICE IS ALL: THE LONELY VICTORY OF JACK KEROUAC, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie.

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