Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir, Joyce Johnson

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award 

Jack Kerouac. Allen Ginsberg. William S. Burroughs. LeRoi Jones. Theirs are the names primarily associated with the Beat Generation. But what about Joyce Johnson (nee Glassman), Edie Parker, Elise Cowen, Diane Di Prima, and dozens of others? These female friends and lovers of the famous iconoclasts are now beginning to be recognized for their own roles in forging the Beat movement and for their daring attempts to live as freely as did the men in their circle a decade before Women's Liberation. 

Twenty-one-year-old Joyce Johnson, an aspiring novelist and a secretary at a New York literary agency, fell in love with Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg nine months before the publication of On the Road made Kerouac an instant celebrity. While Kerouac traveled to Tangiers, San Francisco, and Mexico City, Johnson roamed the streets of the East Village, where she found herself in the midst of the cultural revolution the Beats had created. Minor Characters portrays the turbulent years of her relationship with Kerouac with extraordinary wit and love and a cool, critical eye, introducing the reader to a lesser known but purely original American voice: her own. 

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Praise for Minor Characters:

"Rich and beautifully written, full of vivid portraits and evocations." -- San Francisco Chronicle 

"A first-rate memoir, very beautiful, very sad." --E. L. Doctorow 

"Realistic rather than flamboyant, [Johnson] succeeds in portraying the Beats not as oddities or celebrities but as individuals." -- New Yorker

"The safe-deposit box that contains the last, precious scrolls of the New York '50s." -- Washington Post

Copyright Irene Skolnick Literary Agency 2016