Beat News: June 7 1996

Jan Kerouac, the only child of her father Jack, has died at the age of 44. She had been very ill with kidney disease for a long time, and was in an Albuquerque hospital recovering from an operation on her spleen when she died.

Jan lived a difficult life. She rarely met her father, who spent most of his life denying that she was his. A promising career as a writer (her first book, Baby Driver, was liked by many people) was derailed by her illness, personal problems and an ugly, obsessive public feud with the holders of the Kerouac estate, which seemed to be consuming her entirely in her final years.

I never met or spoke to Jan, but through an intermediary I was given the opportunity to publish an excerpt from her novel in progress, Parrot Fever which deals with the death of her mother, among other things. Jan’s friend Gerald Nicosia (a Kerouac biographer) is going to try to arrange for posthumous publication of this book, which would be her third. The excerpt is here.

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