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And the Hippos Were Boiled in the Tanks

And the Hippos Were Boiled in the Tanks

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In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were taken into police custody following a murder. One of their friends, Lucien Carr, had stabbed another, David Kammerer, whose sexual advances he'd seemingly grown tired of rejecting. Carr, still in bloodstained clothes, 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Months later the two writers - unpublished at the time - collaborated on And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a fictionalized account of the week leading up to the killing. They wrote alternating chapters - Burroughs writing as sometime bartender and workaday detective Will Dennison, Kerouac as Mike Ryko, a merchant seaman.
From this intensely personal material they made a hardboiled account of a group of friends moving through each other's apartments, killing time drinking, necking, talking and taking drugs, and haphazardly drifting towards a bloody crime - flabby, likeable Ramsey Allen trailing after the beautiful Phillip Tourian, constantly angering him with his endless desire to please. Unpublished until now, this is a kind of crime novel of humans stewing in their inactivity, and a remarkable insight into the lives and literary development of two great writers.