Today would have been Beat writer William S. Burrough's 101st birthday, and as I myself am a dedicated member of the Beat fanclub, I wanted to share a piece I wrote about the film Kill Your Darlings. The movie, which focuses on Allen Ginsberg in his early years at Columbia, was really great. But it was no where near as great as And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, the decades-hidden novel about the Lucien Carr-David Kammerer tragedy that rocked the young Beats and serves as the background of Darlings.
The book was co-written by Burroughs and Jack Kerouac prior to hitting it big. The chapters trade off between the two writers as they lay out the days leading up to and immediately following Kammerer's murder at the hands of the young, handsome, and manipulative Carr. Although neither Burroughs nor Kerouac had developed what would become their signature styles, fans of either can pick up on the small tells and hints of what would soon come for both now-powerhouse figures in the literary world.
You can read my review of Kill Your Darlings here, which discusses at greater length the key differences between the film and Hippos and how both tell the story of a murder that nearly upended the fledgling Beat movement.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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