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Alexander Trocchi was one of the seminal beat figures. Born in Scotland, he made his way in Paris and New York, and Young Adam is one of his most important works. Joe is a drifter who works as a hired hand on a barge traveling the Clyde River between Glasgow and Edinburgh. As Young Adam opens, Joe finds the corpse of a young woman floating in the water. Was it an accident, a suicide, or was she murdered? As the police investigate and arrest a suspect, Trocchi’s haunting novel reveals that Joe knows far more than he’s telling. Meanwhile, confined in the claustrophobic space of the barge, an unspoken attraction develops between Joe and the wife of the barge skipper. Originally published in 1954, this is an absorbing existential thriller, a forgotten gem by an important beat writer.
Alexander Trocchi (19251984) was a Scottish novelist whose numerous works include Cain’s Book. He resided mainly in Paris and New York throughout his life. He was an editor of the literary journal Merlin, which published works by Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others.
David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground. His other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he spent ten years as book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times.