Tristessa

Foreword by Aram Saroyan
Based on Jack Kerouac’s real-life love affair in Mexico City, this novel follows a man’s doomed relationship with a woman as her life spirals out of control.

“[Kerouac] loves language, and he obviously has a profound feeling for the human race. . . . In the end he is more truthful, entertaining, and honest than most writers on the American scene.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
This short novel, which Jack Kerouac wrote in the mid-1950s, tells of an American man’s ill-fated romance with an exotic, happy-go-lucky Mexican prostitute and morphine addict. Tristessa, who is Indian, and a deeply religious Catholic, lives in a room in a Mexico City slum with another addict and a menagerie of pets. After meeting her, the narrator leaves town for a year to travel in America, and upon his return he finds Tristessa beginning to fall apart at the seams.
 
This elegiac novel is both a haunting evocation of a spectral Mexico City and a moving meditation on a young woman’s pain and suffering.
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922, the youngest of three children in a Franco-American family. He attended local Catholic and public schools and won a scholarship to Columbia University in New York City, where he first met Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. His first novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957 and memorializing his adventures with Neal Cassady, that epitomized to the world what became known as the “Beat generation” and made Kerouac one of the most best-known writers of his time. Publication of many other books followed, among them The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, and Big Sur. Kerouac considered all of his autobiographical fiction to be part of “one vast book,” The Duluoz Legend. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969, at the age of forty-seven. View titles by Jack Kerouac

About

Based on Jack Kerouac’s real-life love affair in Mexico City, this novel follows a man’s doomed relationship with a woman as her life spirals out of control.

“[Kerouac] loves language, and he obviously has a profound feeling for the human race. . . . In the end he is more truthful, entertaining, and honest than most writers on the American scene.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
This short novel, which Jack Kerouac wrote in the mid-1950s, tells of an American man’s ill-fated romance with an exotic, happy-go-lucky Mexican prostitute and morphine addict. Tristessa, who is Indian, and a deeply religious Catholic, lives in a room in a Mexico City slum with another addict and a menagerie of pets. After meeting her, the narrator leaves town for a year to travel in America, and upon his return he finds Tristessa beginning to fall apart at the seams.
 
This elegiac novel is both a haunting evocation of a spectral Mexico City and a moving meditation on a young woman’s pain and suffering.

Author

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922, the youngest of three children in a Franco-American family. He attended local Catholic and public schools and won a scholarship to Columbia University in New York City, where he first met Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. His first novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957 and memorializing his adventures with Neal Cassady, that epitomized to the world what became known as the “Beat generation” and made Kerouac one of the most best-known writers of his time. Publication of many other books followed, among them The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, and Big Sur. Kerouac considered all of his autobiographical fiction to be part of “one vast book,” The Duluoz Legend. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969, at the age of forty-seven. View titles by Jack Kerouac

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