This past week, Jack Kerouac’s first-ever novel, The Sea is My Brother, was finally published 40 years after his death. The novel, long thought to be lost by experts, was unearthed in Kerouac’s personal archive by his brother-in-law. We are constantly inspired by the way that our over-processed world still hangs on to its secrets, and even more by the way that bits of history can hide in plain sight, so to celebrate this newest development in the literary canon, we decided to take a look at Kerouac’s newest/oldest book and other lost novels that were eventually found again. Click through to see our list of lost and found novels, and if you’ve ever had a literary relative, get ready to go hunting in your attics for your own treasure chests.
The Sea is My Brother, Jack Kerouac
Kerouac’s recently published first novel, written when he was only 20, was based on his experiences as a merchant seaman, and contains correspondence between the author and his best friend of the time, Sebastian Sampas. “It was referred to briefly in letters, but nothing that led anyone to believe that there was this really large volume,” the book’s editor, Dawn Ward, told the BBC. This early work, she says, “is really quite important as it shows how Jack developed his writing process… [he] opens up and shows a side to him that we don’t normally see in his books.”