turn the page: Herbert Huncke — The Unsung Beat
You read Herbert Huncke and there is something so genuine and unforced about him and his writing, even when he is playing with some idea that twists the text out of a straight shape. If I had to state a favourite book ever, and I know I have contradicted this elsewhere — it would have to be The Herbert Huncke Reader
. That book is one of those that you just don’t want to put down but you equally don’t want to read it too fast because that means you might get to the end and then there is nothing left to read. I keep coming back to it in my mind as a seminal experience — one that I talk about often with people, trying to get them to go check the guy out. He deserves to be recognised and have all his books back in print the same as the Beat troika of Burroughs, Kerouac and Ginsberg.
I love Kerouac but he has his hang-ups with Catholicism and Buddhism which occasionally get in the way and sometimes the things which you love about his writing can also become the things that bug you about it (I suppose this holds true of anybody). Burroughs again sometimes gets bogged down in his preoccupations that stall the story and let stagnant water settle over the prose. Herbert Huncke seems free of these problems. Huncke just screams genuine article at you — there is never that beat in what he says where you feel that he is hitting a bum note and telling an untruth or pretending to be something that he isn’t. Honesty and talent endure — I am sure that at some point he will get the treatment he deserves — until that point I urge you go out there and find his books.
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