Read and the hippos were boiled in their tanks by Jack Kerouac William S. Burroughs Online


In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were charged as accessories to murder. One of their friends, Lucien Carr, had stabbed another, David Kammerrer. Carr had come to each of them and confessed; Kerouac helped him get rid of the weapon - neither told the police. For this failing they were arrested. Months later, the two writers - unpublished at the time - collaborIn 1944, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were charged as accessories to murder. One of their friends, Lucien Carr, had stabbed another, David Kammerrer. Carr had come to each of them and confessed; Kerouac helped him get rid of the weapon - neither told the police. For this failing they were arrested. Months later, the two writers - unpublished at the time - collaborated on And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a fictionalized account of the summer of the killing....

Title : and the hippos were boiled in their tanks
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ISBN : 19305304
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 228 Pages
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and the hippos were boiled in their tanks Reviews

  • Tosh
    2019-05-14 03:27

    The Beat-lunatic's dream book. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac's first book - and not only that but the only book that they wrote together. Written in 1945, the story is based on their friend Lucian Carr who murdered another friend of everyone's at that time.Burroughs would write one chapter and Kerouac would write the other. If one just read the chapters or book you would notice the style of the writing right away. In other words it is very Burroughs and very Kerouac. Even as young writers, their stylistic prose writing comes super clear as if it was their DNA being printed out on a page. The great thing about the book more than anything else is that it captures Manahattan life among the boho's of 1945. The bars, the characters, the life style, etc. is fully expressed in this book. If the narrative is not a masterpiece, then at the very least we have here an important document of a time that is no longer with us.So yeah it's a must of course for fans of both writers, but also, and again, it captures a moment very well - and therefore the book is very moving for that reason alone.

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2019-05-10 10:23

    The best part about this early beat novel is contrasting the temperaments of the two narrators: Kerouac comes off as a naive little boy catching fireflies, while Burroughs is a grumpy old junkie codger squashing the fireflies and grumbling to himself about how stupid they were for flying near him.

  • Caddy Rowland
    2019-05-03 06:45

    I don't know where to start with this review. This book meant so much to me. Yet, I know for many people it wouldn't be a good read. It's the only novel Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs ever wrote together, and it sat under floorboards for decades before finally getting published only a few years ago, now that all of the people it's about have died. Lucien Carr was the last, passing away in 2005. He had asked the person who published this not to do it while he was alive.This book, while not listed as historical fiction, is historical fiction nonetheless. It's characters represent Kerouac, Burroughs, Carr, Kammerer and others that were part of their group of friends. For those of you that don't know about the Beat Generation of writers, Kerouac, Burroughs,and Ginsberg. They were introduced to each other by Lucian Carr, who was the one who created the energy and impetus for their work to come. Strangely, Carr never did publish. Perhaps how he is portrayed in Kill Your Darlings was true: maybe he had others do his college papers. Or, perhaps he gave up after his stint in jail.Anyway, this story is based on the historic murder that took place in 1944. Lucian Carr stabbed David Kammerer several times, tied his hands behind his back with shoelaces, and put stones in his pockets, then rolled him into the river. This was a huge case back then. There were homosexual accusations (Kammerer was gay) and Carr's attorney protrayed Carr as a heterosexual who had been stalked by Kammerer since Carr was 11 and Kamerer was 25. The man followed him from state to state, school to school.Yet, Lucien Carr encouraged him. Many times the two of them hung out together. Making the story even more interesting is the fact that Burroughs and Kammerer had been friends since childhood. Kammerer always talked about his love for Lucien to Burroughs and his frustration that he had never scored with him.Yet, there is evidence that Lucien and Allan Ginsberg were intimate several times. So, it isn't that Lucien Carr was strictly hetero. This book tells the story from the perspective of two men that were close friends of both the victim and the murderer. Although many little details are changed, I would have to assume they tell it much like it was. Both this book and the movie Kill Your Darlings (my favorite movie of 2013) show Lucien Carr to be an arrogant, egotistical cockteaser. Yet, his charms were evident and seemed to work their magic on everyone he came into contact with. I know even I am charmed by Lucien all these years later. Lucien, Lucien, what really happened? What went on between you and your stalker friend? Had he used you when you were only 11 or 12? Did he hold some type of spell over you? Or did you over him, and did you use that power to torture and demean him in front of others?No one knows the full story. Only Lucien Carr and David Hammerer could tell us and they are long gone. But what a story it is. Plus, William S. Burroughs is a favorite of mine. It was great fun to see what he and Kerouac did together as untested writers. Great literature? Probably not. But totally wonderful just the same, as it gives us a glimpse into the Beat Generation's inner life and the beginning of two great writers.I did find it odd that Allan Ginsberg, or a character like him, is not in the book. I don't know why.If you read it, be sure to read the notes at the end. They will give you fascinating insight.

  • Mark
    2019-05-16 09:39

    I assume any reader who has been through one or two books by either William Burroughs or Jack Kerouac (or both) has a more than occasional appetite for fiction that is beyond, or at least different from, conventional escapist entertainment.So it’s slightly ironic to learn from the detailed afterword in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, written by Burroughs' bibliographer and literary executor James Grauerholz, that this mildly legendary yet long unpublished chapter-trading collaboration between Burroughs and Kerouac was "written explicitly for a genre-fiction market, not for the avant-garde reader." Considering the historical gloss of Burroughs' debut novel Junkie's publication, the commercial motivations for And the Hippos comes as less of surprise.But where Junkie, for this reader, successfully synthesized a pulp fiction aesthetic with an experientially informed first person account of heroin addiction's self destructive realities in solid, sparse and always accelerating prose, And the Hippos was, as I once heard Burroughs say in a documentary film clip, in that unforgettable, elongated nasal, St. Louis Gentleman as ghastly specter drawl of his, "not a very distinguished work."The story’s core is the perverse push-pull relationship between the magnetically princely yet aloof Phillip Tourian (Lucien Carr) and Ramsay Allen (David Kammerer), who at 14 years Tourian’s elder and with obsessive longing for Tourian’s love on both the physical and emotional plane plays a pitiful Verlaine to Tourian’s haughty Rimbaud. In alternating first person accounts, Burroughs’ Will Dennison and Kerouac’s Mike Ryko relate the bad chemistry the two create for one another. Burroughs/Dennison, after speaking positively of each man individually in the first chapter, explains, “when they get together something happens, and they form a combination which gets on everybody’s nerves.” The combination proved to be ultimately toxic as well as annoying and the novel follows the real life events—altered and embroidered in some ways known to us as matter of deviation from public record and in others known only to Carr and Kammerer—of Tourian/Carr killing Allen/Kammerer, dumping his body in the Hudson river, and after confessing dramatically to Dennison/Burroughs and to Ryko/Kerouac, resulting in some drunken deliberation, turning himself in to the authorities with a plea of self defense.So why bother to read a work that comes nowhere near the level of Junkie, Naked Lunch or—to throw Kerouac’s ghost a bone here—On the Road? Well, if you don’t have any curiosity about it or desire to do so, don’t. But if you are specifically interested in either or both of these two authors’ body of work, or generally interested in the many writers (and hangers-on who eventually decided they might as well pick up writing) who have been lumped together as "the Beats," you might as well at least get And the Hippos on local library loan (like I did) and give it the fast but not unenjoyable read it invites. I certainly have no regrets about the time I invested in reading it, but I'm glad I didn't shell out any cash.Allow me to digress a wee bit to explain that I consistently use the “either or both” construct when referring to Burroughs and Kerouac because I can easily imagine someone who enjoys reading Burroughs not having the patience for Kerouac or (somewhat more of a stretch for me most of the time) vice verse. On the whole, I myself find both writers to often be almost simultaneously innovative and limiting in the most intriguing yet vexing ways. Up until the previous paragraph, I also deliberately avoided encapsulating both Burroughs and Kerouac with the broader brush stroke of "the Beats" because I think much of what is considered the collective Beat oeuvre shares personal histories, social circles and active exchanges of ideas about aesthetics and craft much more than it reflects any common vision, like styles or similar artistic intents. The more ambitious and accomplished writers from this category of convenience deserve to be regarded on their own, especially Burroughs who—if memory serves—himself disavowed membership in any Beat literary scene.If, like me, you are an ardent reader of the Beats always seeking their best and, in the process, learning that their A-list writers produced C grade material, if not far worse at times, you may also recognize how "Beat reading," for lack of a more elegant phrase, so easily develops into what I’d prefer to think of as scholarship but what those who don't cozy up to the Beats as readily would criticize as a fetishistic focus on minutiae.So it was either my inner Beat scholar or my inner drooling fan-boy completist (take your pick) who was delighted to read Burroughs in this passage trying out a prototype of the cosmic cynic and ultimate outsider-by-choice stance he would eventually perfect. ”I had the feeling that all over America such stupid arguments were taking place on street corners and in bars and restaurants. All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else's nose to prove they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say, 'I don't take any shit!' and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him.”I read the open to Chapter Eight with equal pleasure.”Wednesday turned out to be a beautiful day. It was one of those clear and cool June days when everything is blue and rose and turret-brown. I stuck my head out Janie's window and looked around. It was eleven o'clock yet everything looked fresh and keen like early morning.”Who else but good ol' TiJean could rhapsodize so about looking out the window and imagining the sheen of early morning with noon only an hour away? Those who tend to dismiss Kerouac as a prolix and self indulgent flibbertigibbet (and lord knows at times he gave plenty of reasons for people to do so), tend to miss his concentrated inventiveness exemplified by the use—I assume, actually, coining—of an adjective such as “turret-brown.”These passages are only two examples of nuggets easily mined and enjoyed if you’re reading this book in the context of a familiarity with both of the authors’ later, more developed and substantive work. If you’re reading And the Hippos for reasons other than what drove Henry Miller fans to read the posthumously published Moloch or Crazy Cock or what inspired literary enthusiasts in general to read the 1994 short story anthology First Fiction, you’re probably going to be disappointed. And if you haven’t yet read the works that forged these writers’ lasting reputations, please start there.

  • Matina
    2019-05-01 05:44

    Δεν είναι τόσο η υπόθεση, δεν είναι ο τρόπος γραφής ούτε ότι διαβάζεις εναλλάξ δυο συγγραφείς που έχουν το δικό τους φωτοστέφανο. Είναι που τελειώνοντας το βιβλίο τα χεις μυρίσει όλα, έχεις μπει στο κλίμα της εποχής και της κατάστασης, τόσο ώστε σου φαίνονται φυσιολογικές οι αντιδράσεις και οι σκέψεις των ηρώων.

  • Joseph
    2019-05-13 02:25

    I "cheated" a bit with this book and used the audio edition. I started walking to work again and use the time to listen to a book. This version is read by Ray Porter. Porter changes his voice throughout the book reflecting the different authors. Kerouac and Burroughs alternate in telling the story of the death of Ramsey Allen. Like many of Kerouac's real life writings, the characters are real but their names are changed. Kerouac is Mike Ryko and Burroughs goes by Will Dennison. Ryko and Dennison tell the fictionalized story of mid-1940s New York City friends. Aside from the death, it is typical Kerouac writing and is typical of his usual fare. There is plenty of drinking. Some marijuana smoking and the attempt to escape problems by heading out to sea. There is also an openly gay character in the story who is well accepted, but also the motivation of the story. The title has nothing to do with the story. It comes from the 1944 Hartford Circus fire. The paraffin coated big tops caught fire and 165 died and 700 were injured as a result. Burrough's recalled the radio news story where the announcer said "and the hippos were boiled in their tanks." This book was written in 1945 but not published until 2008 and was met with unimpressive reviews for its literary style. Overall, it is a good story of a group of friends who live fairly normal lives with perhaps an abnormal amount of drinking. Interesting people fighting the mundane.

  • Paul
    2019-05-16 05:30

    As the first novel by both Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, in collaboration, this is a book of great literary significance, especially to anybody with an interest in the Beat Movement.The two writers wrote a chapter each, alternately, and read their chapters aloud to each other before the other started work on the next one. Anybody familiar with either writer's work would easily be able to tell which chapters were written by which writer, even if they weren't told from the point of view of the fictionalised version of themselves. To anybody a bit more familiar with the Beat Movement the rest of the cast of characters are also recognisable, as this entire book is based on actual events... although to call most of the contents of this book 'events' is to stretch the term to breaking point. Until the last two chapters, most of the characters spend the book doing as little as humanly possible.To be honest, if you strip away this book's place in the history of literature, which it holds largely due to the circumstances of it's creation rather than any great artistic merit, this novel is just OK. It's not a bad book, by any means, and I did enjoy reading it, but it falls short of actual greatness.Oh, and, for the record, no hippos were harmed in the making of this book.

  • Sara
    2019-05-02 08:33

    Read this in a day! It's a quick read. Sure learned a lot about being a merchant marine. Also sad and interesting was seeing the corruption of the cops while Will was bar tending. Right after this I watched Kill Your Darlings. (Note: Ginsburg is nowhere in this book.)I can't give an objective review of this book right now. I somehow got so immersed in this Beat culture all I can say is "This is great!" when maybe it's not. Great glimpses of New York in the forties, especially having to dress nice and how you got treated if you didn't. We also take AC for granted. When they say it's hot, it's really sweat pouring off your brow while you're sleeping hot. They also ate glass. Like bite into yout cocktail glass and start chewing. . . .Not an emotional book at all, considering the subject matter. (Jack and Will are unwitting accomplices when Lucius Carr kills David Kammerer though this account is very fictionalized.) Maybe it was good therapy (along with alcohol and heroin).

  • Deniz
    2019-05-14 08:21

    Aykırı akım, bana kalırsa edebiyatın en samimi ve en özgür tarafı. Yeraltı Edebiyatı, Beat Kuşağı da en çok ilgimi çeken türler bu yüzden.Kerouac, Ginsgberg, Burroughs gibi yazarları okuduğum çok sayıda makaleden ve izlediğim filmlerden artık tanıyor gibiyim. Özellikle, Kill Your Darlings isimli güzel film, beni Beat Kuşağı'na daha da itmişti. Akımın başlamasını tetikleyenlerden şeylerden biri, Lucien Carr'ın işlediği cinayetti ve bu cinayetin perde arkası, Ginsberg'ün ve Kerouac'in hemen hemen her eserini etkilemişti.Ve Hipopotamlar Tanklarında Haşlandılar, 1944 yılında, Jack Kerouac ve William S. Burroughs'un beraber kaleme aldığı, David Kammerer cinayetinin hikayeleştirilmiş hali. Kitabın sonsöz kısmında da olayın aslını ve Kerouac ile Burroughs'un tutuklanışını görebiliyoruz. Kitap, altmış yıl kadar bir süre yayınlanmıyor; ancak Beat Kuşağı başlayıp, yazarların kitapları büyük bir yankı uyandırdıktan ve Lucien Carr öldükten sonra, Ve Hipopotamlar Tanklarında Haşlandılar, gün yüzüne çıkıyor."Evet," dedim, "ama sen bir sanatçısın. Namusa ve dürüstlüğe ve minnettarlığa inanmıyorsun."Kitabın Mike Ryko bölümleri Jack'e, Will Dennison bölümleri William'a ait. İkilinin üslupları arasındaki fark, okudukça kendini daha çok belli ediyor, yazarlara daha da yaklaşmış gibi hissediyorsunuz. Cinayetin farklı isimlerle, ayrıntısız ve biraz farklı bir versiyonu olsa da, dönemin Amerika'sı ve yazarların kalemi yine ortada. Bu kitap, hikayeye ve yazarlara biraz yakınsanız, okuması inanılmaz eğlenceli, duygulu ve merak uyandırıcı. Yani ben, Beat yazarlarına biraz aşina olduktan sonra okumanız taraftarıyım. Karakterleri tanımanız öyküyü daha ilgi çekici hale getirecektir. Ben akımın felsefesine, yazarların yaşamlarına ve yazış tarzlarına kocaman gözlerle baktığımdan, keyifli bir deneyim oldu.Aykırı akıma ve yazarlarına ilginiz varsa, biraz tanıyorsanız ya da belki eserlerini okumuşsanız, Hipopotamlar Tanklarında Haşlandılar'ı okumanızı öneririm. Aynı zamanda hikayenin Allen Ginsberg tarafını görmek isterseniz, Kill Your Darlings'i izlemenizi de tavsiye edeceğim. O film, gerçekte yaşananların doğrudan beyaz perdeye aktarımı.Kitabı okuduğuma çok memnunum ve bundan sonra, yine, Beat okumaya devam edeceğim umarım.

  • T4ncr3d1
    2019-05-07 10:23

    Scritta, riscritta, rinnegata, mai dimenticata, congelata nel tempo e solo adesso, morti tutti i personaggi, pubblicata, E gli ippopotami si sono lessati nelle loro vasche è la storia dell'omicidio che diede inizio alla beat generation. E non poteva essere altrimenti.Questo strano, modesto, iperrealistico e nudo romanzo a quattro mani restituisce perfettamente quello che fu il nucleo originario della beat, a cominciare dall'ambientazione caotica e quasi bohémien della New York degli anni Quaranta: pub, salotti, locali per omosessuali, navi in partenza, e lontana, come il gracidare della radio in sottofondo, la guerra. Una guerra innocua, che sembra esserci sempre stata, al punto da non scoraggiare affatto il sogno di Jack e Lucien di salpare verso Parigi.Narrativamente aggiunge ben poco alle figure ben note dei suoi due scrittori; stilisticamente è acerbo come solo un romanzo d'esordio non pubblicato può essere. E già qualcosa si intravede: dietro lo pseudonimo di Will Dennison si cela Burroughs, un attimo prima di tuffarsi nella tossicodipendenza, con i suoi omosessuali sbandati e la sua femme fatale; nell'irrequietezza di Mike Ryko c'è la smania di partire di Kerouac. Accanto a loro, un variegato e chiacchierone gruppo di giovani, che l'utilissima postfazione di James W. Grauerholz riconosce e inquadra.L'omicidio del 13 agosto 1944 è lo sparo d'inizio: e mentre Kerouac comincia a correre per non fermarsi più, rincorso, instancabile, dal ricordo di quella notte, per Burroughs si incarnerà in una scimmia sulla schiena.

  • Robert Hobkirk
    2019-04-27 04:25

    Kerouac and Burroughs wrote this novel together, writing alternate chapters, in 1945 when they were unknowns. They never were able to get it published, being unknown, and the publishers thinking it would have no sales appeal. Welcome to the book biz. It was finally published in 2008.Both writers used simple sentences, Kerouac not going off on his poetic riffs. I couldn't tell who was writing unless I read the chapter heading. Like all of Kerouac's and Burroughs' writing, this story was based upon a factual happening, a murder. Both writers knew the victim and the perp' and the facts about the murder. The police jailed Kerouac because the murderer told him about the homicide, but Kerouac didn't inform the police. Kerouac married his girlfriend, Edie (Janie in the story) so that her family would bail him out of jail. This bit about getting bailed out wasn't in the story, but it may have been the most interesting part.The story was set in NY during 1944. It had this great setting, but not much of it was described. Maybe the writers took it for granted since they were living there and seeing the scene every day. Most the description was about what they were drinking - anything with alcohol. I gave it 4 stars because Kerouac, for me, can do no wrong (except maybe Big Sur), not even getting married to get out of jail.

  • Chelsea Whyte
    2019-04-26 09:24

    Overall, this will end up in that category of books I'm glad I read, though I'm not sure how much I liked it. Burroughs and Kerouac took turns writing chapters from the perspective of the two main characters, Will Dennison and Mike Ryko. Though I didn't know it while I was reading, these were meant to represent themselves. The book tells the story of a murder committed by a friend of theirs while they were young and living in New York. The story itself ambles slowly through the hot summer in the city, while the words stab at the page aggressively. It seems written straight out of youthful exuberance and aggression, testosterone gleaming in the ink.The writing is raw and has the beginnings of the voices we're used to from these two writers. But the jumping back and forth between narrators (who seem very similar) got confusing at times. It's billed as a murder mystery, but there's no mystery at all (unless you count trying to assign the characters to the people they represent in real life, which the afterword does quite nicely). It's really a story of youth and excess that captures a Greenwich Village of another time and tells of boys and their wars.

  • lydia
    2019-05-06 09:36

    “I began to get a feeling familiar to me from my bartending days of being the only sane man in a nuthouse. It doesn't make you feel superior but depressed and scared, because there is nobody you can contact.” And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanksis a fictionalized account of David Kammerer’s murder by Lucien Carr in 1943, cowritten by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The crime shocked the public opinion, partly because Carr was a gifted Columbia student and partly due to his claim that he was acting on self-defense, trying to avoid the homosexual advances of the other man. Newspapers called it an “honor slaying”, ignoring every other aspect of their tumultuous relationship. What exactly went on between Carr and Kammerer is the subject of endless speculation, but both Kerouac and Burroughs were dragged into that case and the Beats were shaken by it. And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tankswas written in 1945, before its authors rose to fame and remained unpublished for over sixty years. It’s not the best thing the Beat literature has to offer, but as with all of Kerouac’s books, I can’t help but notice how alive his writing is. It’s jazz and booze and New York’s late nights. Burroughs was always a bit too much for my liking (too much drugs, too much sex, too much grossness), but here, his chapters are clean, less desperate or angry, since his drug addiction hadn’t yet begun. It always makes me sad, how the Beats lost themselves in the end, one way or the other, but maybe that was their point- they were gifted but pretentious, curious about life and at the same time damned to chase after happiness, without ever reaching it.

  • Geoff Dunk
    2019-04-28 02:47

    The first book I have completed so far this summer. I read the first 20 or so pages last night before bed and read the rest in the car today on the way to and from brunch with my mom’s side of the family.It’s about 200 pages and it’s a fictionalized re-telling of the infamous “Columbia murder that gave birth to the Beats” and essentially inspired Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs to start to thoroughly document their times and travels. The murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr is a well-documented event in the Beat Generation and for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, you can read about it here:, this is a novel of alternating Kerouac and Burroughs chapters narrating life and the course of events leading up to the murder from their own points of view, which often coincide in the book.It was written over an entire year between 1944 and 1945 over a decade before either man had ever been published and thus it shows both of them at a time when they still hadn’t really mastered their own styles. It was rejected by a bunch of publishers but Kerouac kept a copy of it around which eventually ended up in the hands of James Grauerholz, the executor of the state of William S. Burroughs, who also became good friends with Carr and promised not to have it published until after his death, so as to not further ruin his name and bring up that part of his life. Carr died in 2005, and this book was eventually published in 2008 so it also comes with a cool ~lost artifact~ story behind it.I had never read anything by Burroughs prior to reading this, but I really enjoyed the wit and arrogance of his chapters. You can tell through his writing and his fictionalized depiction of himself that he was a lot more well-off and older than many of the Beats he hung around with and that he was also a really shady figure. I now have a definite desire to find a copy of Naked Lunch because I really enjoy his writing style and I’d like to read something of his where he has created more of a definitive voice and style.The Kerouac chapters were definitely rougher than anything else I’ve read by him which I expected, but I still quite enjoyed them. The primary focus of the book is less on the events of the murder itself and mostly just a look into the daily lives of the authors and their close circle of friends in the weeks leading up to the event.It’s a good read and I’d recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the Beat Generation because it’s kind of a cool sneak peek at each author long before they’d created their classic literary works, and it also reads pretty well. I wouldn’t suggest it as anyone’s first foray into Beat writing though because it’s definitely a few steps below Kerouac’s [i]On The Road[/i].

  • Audrey
    2019-05-24 08:30

    This book was above all else an interesting bit of literary history. It was written in the mid 1940s, almost a full ten years before Kerouac and Burroughs became famous. It is written from the perspective of two characters, Dennison and Ryko, written by Burroughs and Kerouac respectively. It is fascinating to read their early work, and to see their styles play off one another. It is a fictionalized version of their experiences with the Kammerer murder by Lucien Carr, and they do it justice. In terms of style, flow, and plot it is clearly a bit more inchoate than their more mature works, but in some ways this works beautifully. The book really captures the dynamic of artists and writers of the post-war Village, just before the Beat era really became an established movement. There is a palpable stagnation about the whole book which practically made me itchy. I felt the need to be productive and eschew apathy after reading for the better part of an hour. The whole thing seems to lead to nowhere, and even after the murder takes place, nothing changes and nothing is done. The book seems without journey, destination, or lesson, and that seems to be the point. It is disturbing and yet common and true. I felt upset and very aware that at any moment, people anywhere can be doing nothing, changing nothing, feeling very litte, and contributing nothing to the greater good. Drinks can be procured, sex can be had, lives can be ended, and yet the clock ticks on and nobody will care. Although it can be a bit slow, ultimately Hippos is a fascinating read.

  • reem
    2019-05-10 08:49

    Two brilliant writers, one of them I still consider a favourite (10 years after picking up On the Road and losing my mind), write alternating chapters about a murder in New York around 1944, and you expect me to give it less than 3 stars? Well, I've thought about it a lot and I think it's only fair that it gets no more than that, despite Kerouac's marvelous storytelling (Burroughs was ever so clever as well.) The big story behind the book, which was based on real events, took a long time to come through - somewhere towards the end. I was shuffling through the pages waiting for the big 'whoop!' and even though I knew the story beforehand, the way it was told was nothing short of gripping. It's like reading the news, but better. An easy read with the ever notorious members of the Beat Generation.

  • Vince
    2019-05-12 06:38

    Well, you can't say /nothing/ happens, I mean, they eat glass within the first 10 pages and there's, of course, murder.

  • Reid
    2019-05-09 08:28

    The strange case of Lucien Carr and David Kammerer. Murder, almost without consequence, unlike The Stranger, and Hippos makes for a pretty good companion piece - what with the matter-of-fact nearly emotionless aspects of the material, and how the social mores impact the punishment. Hippos was written (in 1945) about the same time as The Stranger, and before Camus' English translation. Hippos is a real case, though. And it's less about the murder and aftermath, and more about setting the scene, of this loose group of rag-tag friends in NY City - the dark bars, rundown apartments, grimy restaurants, and efforts to make or bum a little cash.The story is told in mostly alternating chapters written by Burroughs and Kerouac, and each tells of the murder, briefly toward the end, in slightly different ways, stressing different but important aspects - Burroughs shows the cold emotionlessness of the (fictionalized) murderer, and Kerouac reminds us that the death does have personal impact, however minimal. That's the creepy and haunting thing about the book, the murdered man, who was openly gay (as opposed to LC, JK and WB all being secretly bisexual) is almost forgotten immediately, written off as just a peculiarity. I'll read it again, glad I own it, and there are a few good leads in the afterword. One interesting footnote - author Caleb Carr is the son of Lucien.

  • Neil McCrea
    2019-04-26 08:35

    And the Hippos . . . is quite the hidden gem. A collaboration between Kerouac & Burroughs written in 1945 long before either of them achieved any literary success. The glimmers of future greatness are there, but perhaps more refreshingly the self-indulgences both writers are occasionally known for are absent. The Burroughs chapters have all of his trademark wry, black humor, and the Kerouac chapters lack some of his poetry but retain his pathos.The afterward detailing the history of this novel and why it couldn't be published for over sixty years is a worthy read in and of of my favorite bits:"I had the feeling that all over America such stupid arguments were taking place on street corners and in bars and restaurants. All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else's nose to prove that they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say "I don't take any shit!" and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him." -- from one of the William S Burroughs chapters

  • Cari
    2019-05-13 07:31

    Though definitely an invaluable literary artifact and of interest to Beat junkies, this is little more than that. Good literature? No, not even approaching the skill and depth of the authors' later works. Interesting, though, and a good story--how could it not be, based on facts? Just severely lacking on the technical side. There's a reason this wasn't published, there's a reason this wasn't the book that made either Kerouac or Burroughs famous, and honestly? It's better that way.Still, a must-read for any enthusiasts to add to their collection.

  • Maja Shinigami
    2019-05-25 09:37

    Da okej, slatko je što su B i K odali počast svojim hipsterskim frendićima Carru i Kammereru i njihovoj ljubavnoj tragediji i opisali svoje međusobno, prepotentno zgubidarenje, lokanje i drogsanje dok čitaju Yeatsa i Eliota, prije nego što su postali poznati Beatovci ali, really wtf?Gdje je tu umjetnost kojoj oni toliko teže? Najlakše je napucat se morfijem i onda biti pisac/slash/umjetnik i pisat 12 sati u komadu da bi nastalo ovako nešto. Ne da mi se čitat što piju i žderu na cca 200 stranica.Burroughs je još nekako i podnošljiv, valjda zbog te svoje cinične face pa mu je i pisanje 'ajde ali ipak NE, ali Kerouac... Ako je Kerouac uspio kao pisac, onda može svatko. Supstance te ne čine umjetnikom, Jean.Thank Cthulhu da ne vidim inspiraciju u ovome.

  • Mat
    2019-05-02 07:44

    Burroughs AND Keroauc writing a book together? What more could you want?This book is BRILLIANT! Loved it. As it was written at a very early stage in their careers, I must admit that initially I had doubts - which were soon dispelled by the great quality of writing from both of these legendary writers. It almost beggars belief that they were just in the incipient stages of their soon-to-be-great literary careers, when they wrote this fascinating story which affected them all in a deep way.Kerouac was said to have had a photographic memory (whence his childhood knickname 'Memory Babe') and after reading this book, I have no doubt whatsoever that that was very very true. The detail he and Burroughs go into in relating the Carr/Kammerer story is absolutely astounding. As I read this book, I really felt like I had been taken back in time, back to the America of the '40s and '50s. The writing lets the reader walk down the streets with Kerouac and his friends, arm in arm. SPOILER ALERT!Basic story: Lucien Carr was stalked by Kammerer, a homosexual in love with Carr and constantly lusting after him, who was, incidentally, a heterosexual friend of many of the beats including Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg. The murder of Kammerer occurs close to the end so much of the story is actually the background of what led up to the murder, including some outrageous parties that they threw. The slightly bizarre title comes from a radio announcement they heard around that time about a fire at the zoo and......well you can imagine from the title the rather gruesome outcome for the hippos. This book gives great insight into what the inner Beat Circle (Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Carr etc.) did, what parties they threw and what bars and locales they hung out at. What a fascinating group of 'mad ones'/intellectuals! This book also explores Kerouac's role in the murder. Jack helped Lucien hide the murder weapon and therefore was charged as 'accessory after the fact', which also had the unforeseen consequence of him marrying Edie Parker (as her parents put up the bail money). Lucien considered Jack to be a great friend and the feeling was obviously mutual to the point where Jack almost named a book after his friend - Lucien Midnight, later changed to Old Angel Midnight, which I am currently reading. In a sense, this is THE STORY that started it all. In a few years America would witness the birth of a movement of unforeseen scope and scale which forever changed the world and continues to change the world. Just remember, without the Beats, we would never have had the hippies and I don't think the size of the students protests against the Vietnam War would have been quite so big either. Even when I read about the Arab Spring on this day in 2012, I am somehow reminded of the Beats, even though the Beats were more about disengagement from society than open-out confrontation and rebellion. My favourite parts of this book were, funnily enough, not related to the core part of the story (the murder) but Jack's attempts, with Lucien Carr in tow who was desperately trying to get away from the psychopathic Kammerer shadowing his every move, to get signed up to the Merchant Marine. Kerouac's and Carr's unsuccessfull attempts to ship out with the Merchant Marine were partly due to a notorious first mate, which by Jack's account, sounds like a real prick (excusez-moi mesdames and messieurs, les grots mots arretent ici). I really enjoyed reading about Jack's adventures on the S.S. Dorchester (is that the name of the ship? Please correct me if I'm wrong) to Greenland and his accounts of how they narrowly escaped the German U-boats which crop up elsewhere in Kerouac's canon such as in Vanity of Duluoz and (I think) the recently released The Sea is My Brother. Kerouac certainly seemed to have a love of the sea, which may be one reason why he admired Melville's writing so much.If you are a fan of Kerouac, Burroughs or any beat writer (Corso, Ginsberg, Bremser, McClure, Holmes etc.) or the Beat Movement itself and its legacy, you owe it to yourself to read this. Get it. Read it. Love it. Trust me, you won't regret it. With a beat book of this high standard coming out over 50 years after it was written, I find myself wondering...hoping...just what other hidden beat lit treasure gems might be lying in the dusty 'Beat Lit Closet'?

  • Diana
    2019-05-01 09:45

    За тази легендарна и "изгубена" книга на битниците, непубликувана 60 години, е трудно да се пише и може би най-точните и кратки думи биха били: "Жалко, че свърши. Благородно завиждам на тези, които ще я четат за първи път."„А хипопотамите се сварили в басейна си” в голямата си част е автобиографичен роман, родил се след убийството, дало началото на бийт епохата. Прототип на Рамзи Алън е Дейвид Камърър, приятел на Бъроуз от ученическите години, убит през 1944 г. от Лусиен Кар (в романа - Филип Туриян), състудент на Алън Гинсбърг в Колумбийския университет. Кар е от богато семейство, красив, "от типа младежи, за които литературните педерасти пишат сонети, започващи с: "О, чернокъдри гръцки момко ...". Камърър е сляпо и болезнено увлечен по него - до вманиачаване и заплаща за това с живота си.След убийството, преди да се предаде, Кар търси помощ първо от Бъроуз, после от Керуак (с когото крият уликите). Единственото, което получава, е бира с утешителни думи и мълчанието им пред полицията. Недокладваният инцидент ги превръща в съучастници, попадат също в затвора и са освободени под гаранция, платена от богатите родители на Бъроуз и от приятелката на Керуак, за която той се жени набързо (и за кратко) с условието, че ще плати сумата, която баща му отказва. По-късно написват в тандем книгата за престъплението, която Гинсбърг замисля и започва, но се отказва. „А хипопотамите се сварили в басейна си” е кодиран „роман с ключ”, в който всъщност няма хипопотами. Историята е разказана последователно от двама от героите, чиито образи в голяма степен копират авторите си - Уил Денисън (Бъроуз в периода на пристрастяването му към морфина и преди кошмарните наркомански видения) и Майк Райко (Керуак, препитаващ се тогава като моряк). Останалите герои са събирателни от бохемските компании в Манхатън в края на войната - млади хора, още не знаещи, че са от бийт поколението, страдащи от скука и безпаричие, някои работещи от време на време; живеещи като едно голямо семейстно по купони и квартири и винаги намиращи от някъде и някого средства за ядене, дрога и много, много и почти денонощно пиене.„А хипопотамите се сварили в басейна си” е увлекателна, завладяваща книга. В по-голямата си част е като писана от един автор и е доста различна от по-късните им творби. Създадена е още когато двамата са напълно неизвестни, много преди „Голият обяд” и „По пътя” и представлява първите им уверени стъпки към голямата литература.

  • mikaalfh
    2019-04-26 08:35

    « Non mi credi? » ha detto. « Lo sai, vero, che le cose possono trascinarsi fino a un certo punto ma poi succede qualcosa?».Diciamo pure che avevo già idea che fosse la storia di Carr e Kammerer in versione romanzata, ironica e tagliente; diciamo anche che apprezzo altamente il lavoro costituito a due mani da Kerouac e Burroughs — da cui poi si può perfettamente intuire il carattere e i due tipi di personalità derivanti, in contrasto anche se perfettamente incastrati; e diciamo oltretutto che la narrazione è fluente e ti cattura con ogni singolo cocktail sorseggiato dai nostri personaggi, identificati con uno pseudonimo. Tuttavia ecco, forse questo ritratto del segmento "perduto" della nostra generazione, cinico, onesto e di una realtà strabiliante me l'aspettavo un attiminimo più sofferto, pensato, ragionato. Ed invece è la più pura ed immorale rappresentazione dei fatti, un elenco di azioni registrate nell'arco di una settimana - give or take. Gli attribuirei un 3/5 stelle per la modalità di scrittura e la narrazione in sé, anche se un 4/5 mi è consentito per la meraviglia della vera storia di Phillip/Lucien, Ramsay/David, Mike/Jack e Will/William. La sensazione successiva all'aver letto la postfazione di Grauerholz è del tutto positiva, ed è gradevole il poter conoscere dalla mano di chi i nostri protagonisti li ha conosciuti davvero il reale svolgersi dei fatti, con consecutive conseguenze; è tuttavia un romanzo da prendere alla leggera, ed è più che possibile io mi fossi aspettata qualcosa di più elaborato. Meritevole comunque, non c'è che dire.« — be carefulyou're not in wonderlandi've heard this strange madnesslong growing in your soulbut you are fortunate in your ignorancein your isolationyou who have sufferedfind where love hidesgive, share, lose—lest we die, unbloomed.Pensavo alle volte in cui avevo cercato di immaginare come sarebbe stato uccidere qualcuno e scrivevo migliaia di parole per creare quella sequenza di emozioni. E ora ecco qui Phillip al mio fianco, e lui l'aveva fatto per davvero.

  • Richard
    2019-05-14 02:27

    The introduction to this book mentions that "Hippos" existed for years in manuscript form, buried under floor boards. Could be apocryphal, as most "lost art" stories are. Dear estates of the late Messrs Kerouac and Burroughs: should've left this manuscript under the floorboards. Or maybe ran it past an editor?My big problem with "Hippos" was that I couldn't feel sympathy for any of the characters. They had "no form or beauty that we should desire them." The protagonists spend the entirety of the book trolling about the underbelly of Greenwich Village: ripping people off, sleeping around and being lazy. But not in a clever or compelling way. Not in the Dean Moriarty-winking-merry-prankster way that Kerouac would later portray in On the Road. Yes: the characters in this book seem downright malicious and ugly at times and the book suffers for it. Who are we to root for?Upon reflection, though, I'm changing my rating from one star to two. I liked how the hard-boiled prose sounds like old detective novels. Also, I like the simple black on white design of the cover. If I like the cover of a book I'll be more inclined to carry it around, which means I'll be more inclined to read it. With a little bit of editing and some good characters this could've been the long lost beat gem that some people make it out to be.

  • Talia Rosenthal
    2019-05-08 03:32

    And The Hippos was the first Kerouac novel I've read and through having no previous knowledge about the author or the Beats time period, I was mostly in awe of the scenes described in the book. Hippos was written about a murder in the mid 40's from the perspectives of two close friends of the victim and murderer. The change of writing styles between Burroughs and Kerouac from chapter to chapter made the novel engaging and all the more amusing. The stories told inclosed scandal and all kinds of fun absurdity about travels and life in Greenwich Village in the 1940's. My favorite aspect of the form of storytelling throughout Hippos was how the characters that one would't initially be inclined to adore in the story where the ones narrating. The main fun relatable characters were the ones whose story was being told, which in retrospect, makes absolute sense. This way the excitement of the story was better absorbed by the reader and the personal aspects of the more boring characters became more appealing than they would have otherwise.

  • Julie Rylie
    2019-05-22 07:41

    I think one of the main reasons why I didn't reaaaally liked this book was because I read a portuguese version of it and the translation was not one the best let's say... I saw it was a version from 2013 but the language that was used was kind of vulgar, in the sense that besides general vulgarity it would or should have been translated by a person that lived in a different time and space in Portugal coz we don't speak like that since 1975 probably. Translation problems aside, I was quite curious about the title of course and had absolutely no idea what this book would be about... looks like there was some juicy details I was missing...One of my first thoughts was that this book, like all the others I read on both authors, sounded pretty biographical (I enhance the fact I had no idea it actually was!). So this is the story of Lucien Carr and David Kammerer that ended up with one killing the other. There is a movie about it: Kill your darlings wanna see it!

  • Tristan Stewart
    2019-05-14 02:46

    Although an enjoyable an entertaining read, felt incomplete by the end of the story. The book felt to short. Had potential to be greater than it actually was. Burroughs writing was simplistic and fact-oriented whereas Kerouac's writing was more dream-like and youthful, scattered even. Interesting to see the contrast. This as a whole was neither here nor there, unfortunately.

  • Matt
    2019-05-01 03:19

    Interesting artifact of literary history. It's not that great a novel but it does have a certain ease and accessibility which makes it enjoyable. The Kerouac sections are the better written ones, by far.It IS liberating to read mediocre prose by worthy writers, though, since you get to see what it's like to write work out of apprenticeship, as it were. Takes the intimidation factor way down

  • Sarah
    2019-04-24 04:40

    DNF at 37%This is so incredibly slow moving and dull, I just can't bring myself to read any more. I don't care about any of the characters, the writing is uninspiring and nothing has happened so far apart from a load of dudes getting drunk and talking about shipping out.