Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Cain’s Book

by Alexander Trocchi

“Mr. Tocchi’s ideas (or, rather, his gropings toward the distant glow of ideas) are set down in prose that is always clean and sharp and often ferociously alive with poetry.” —The New Yorker

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 280
  • Publication Date January 01, 1981
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3314-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.50
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-8885-4
  • US List Price $13.50

About The Book

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.

Tags Literary Gay

Praise

“Mr. Tocchi’s ideas (or, rather, his gropings toward the distant glow of ideas) are set down in prose that is always clean and sharp and often ferociously alive with poetry.” —The New Yorker

Cain’s Book is the classic of the 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

“Trocchi, especially in this, his masterpiece, along with writers such as William Burroughs, taught me that writers do not make up stories but attempt to find the truth.” —Kathy Acker

Cain’s Book is a High Priest’s raging celebration of the iron-in-the-soul, American style. The book is a literary landmark; it is probably the last great piece of writing in a classic linear format.” —Terry Southern

Cain’s Book is a treasure.” —Ken Kesey

“It is true, it has art, it is brave.” —Norman Mailer

“Alexander Trocchi was a major figure in cosmopolitan new-consciousness fifties’ and sixties’ literature, and Cain’s Book is his signal novel.” —Allen Ginsberg

“Can’t write about writing so will simply say that I find it excellent, very strong and moving—all the visual writing in particular—it seems to me of the highest order.” —Samuel Beckett

“If I were to name contemporary novels that I think will be read years hence, this would be one of them . . . The ‘form’ of the novel is impressive and the prose is sure, supple and responsive.” —James Finn, Commonweal

“[Trocchi’s] book, ostensibly a novel, is written as if it were an autobiography . . . . Trocchi, who lived in a country of stone houses, has offered up the fragments of a looking-glass . . . . His novel is invaluable. Its reverence and contemporaneity are beyond question.” —Martin Tucker, New York Herald Tribune Book Review

“This tough and forceful autobiographical novel is written with unquestionable talent and vigor and is superior in many respects to Nelson Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm.” —R. B. Jackson, Library Journal