And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is the long lost collaboration between William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, two members of the Beat Generation. This book is a kiss on the cheek of the world in which they inhabited: drinking, sex, drugs, books, and freedom. And murder. This book is the fictionalized retelling of an actual murder that occurred in 1944, as told through the voices of the Beats. Each chapter is told from either the perspective of Mike Ryko (Kerouac) or Will Dennison (Burroughs), and each chapter does have its own flow and distinct voice. When the murder finally occurs, it's almost thrown in as an after thought amid the constant flow of alcohol. This book also reads well while listening to jazz. A lot of jazz.
I fell in love with Kerouac (Ti Jean) several years ago after reading On The Road; I later visited his grave in Lowell, Massachusetts. Kerouac fueled the flames of wanderlust, creativity, and freedom for me. Burroughs was a distant respect for me - if you have ever read Naked Lunch, you'll understand. I think I read that book twice and it still confused the hell out of me. I watched the movie before the reading the book - bad decision. Still, like all other literary movements, the Beat Generation very much has a place in the world of books. Their wild adventures and books that told all is one of my many writing inspirations - in fact, I received the green light from my publisher to begin writing a series that is set in the Beat Generation's world.
Thank you, as always, Jack and William.