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Cain's Book

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Cain's Book.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

This is the journal of Joe Necchi, a junkie living on a barge that plies the rivers and bays of New York. Joe's world is the half-world of drugs and addicts -- the world of furtive fixes in sordid Harlem apartments, of police pursuits down deserted subway stations. Junk for Necchi, however, is a tool, freely chosen and fully justified; he is Cain, the malcontent, the profligate, the rebel who lives by no one's rules but his own. Like DeQuincey and Baudelaire before him, Trocchi's muse was drugs. But unlike his literary predecessors, in his roman a clef, Trocchi never romanticizes the source of his inspiration. If the experience of heroin, of the "fix," is central to Cain's Book, both its destructive force and the possibilities for creativity it creates are recognized and accepted without apology.

“Cain’s Book is the classic late-1950s account of heroin addiction. . . . An un-self-forgiving existentialism, rendered with writerly exactness and muscularity, set this novel apart from all others of the genre.” –– William S. Burroughs

This is the journal of Joe Necchi, a junkie living on a barge that plies the rivers and bays of New York. Joe's world is the half-world of drugs and addicts--the world of furtive fixes in sordid Harlem apartments, of police pursuits down deserted subway stations. Junk for Necchi, however, is a tool, freely chosen and fully justified; he is Cain, the malcontent, the profligate, the rebel who lives by no one's rules but his own. Like DeQuincey and Baudelaire before him, Trocchi's muse was drugs. But unlike his literary predecessors, in his roman a clef, Trocchi never romanticizes the source of his inspiration. If the experience of heroin, of the "fix," is central to Cain's Book, both its destructive force and the possibilities for creativity it creates are recognized and accepted without apology. Alexander Trocchi (1925-84) was a controversial Scottish novelist of the beat generation. A heroin addict, he is best known for Cain's Book, an autobiographical account of his sexual misadventures and drug abuse whilst living in New York. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 252 pages
  • Riverrun/Calder (1998)
  • English
  • 2
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By A customer on April 30, 2001

    It was one of the definative founders of the Beat Generation who defined the term as: "Someone who can upon arrival score dope on a streetcorner in any foreign city without knowing the language in a relatively short amount of time", such was the exemplar: Alexander Trocchi, a bonafide "Cosmonaut of the interior" who has remained underground amongst the public altho Cain's Book is a veritable Book of Genesis in the unrepentant world of the proponents of heroin (the-hero-in-side-of-us-all)...I believe the book can only be fully fathomed by one of its own, and that any attempt at critical analysis (in any concentrated area besides linguistics and historical antecedents) will fall flat on its face from an overdose of misinterpretation as cultural relativity here relies upon narcotic initiation & adepthood. "INVIOABLE" is the greatest interpretation of narcotica ever devised with Trocchi as its herald. To laymen no doubt it would seem a glorification, not unjustified but perhaps dangerous, yet Trocchi shows us his heart as well as his arms; His sincerity is the measure of his success as much as his prose is imbued with all the charisma of a literary outlaw making the book a garden of eden for lovers of highly-stylized literature to prance through uninhibited by serpents and blood-apples. The book cannot be compared with W.S. Burrough's "Junky" which in his words is straightforward hard-boiled detective journalism not aimed at literary greatness; "Interzone" is the closest comparable work if your looking for such a summation, but Trocchi here exceeds WSB in everyway, not that there was ever any competition involved in Cain's Book's history, except in its ability to slay all that would be "Able" to match it in scope of intensity and truth. Literary references abound, Kafka's "Burrow" being a most memorable analogy for drug addiction's isolation. The book blends a disturbing surrealism with at preferable times stark naked realism. More than a literary picnic it's a veritable "naked feast" for those hungry for underworldly experience at a somewhat hypocritical safe distance; but no blame exists in such a world as Trocchi's, where pain is noblely accepted and suffering's accordingly annihilated by the supremacy of narcotics; a most merciful God so long as its followers remain loyally and necessarily criminally devoted to obtaining their metamorphic substenance; and likewise the strictest satanus if they fail to do so, in a way, worship this slave-God... Famous among the famous, a "writer's writer", Beat generation legend, composer of metaphysical pornography, a hero amongst the Situationalists, a universal phenonemon with "wanted" posters slung all across Europas and Americas, Alex Trocchi's Cain's Book will be the one book he will be remembered for, even though his "Insurrection of a Million Minds" is a landmark collection of autobiographical social philosophy, his "Yound Adam" an acknowledged erotic classic, and his cosmic sex-thrillers from Olympia Press the stuff of legend in the genre; Cain's Book will forever champion the-HERO-IN-side-of-us-all, even when the war on drugs is killing us, Trocchi will remain, INVIOABLE.


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