What Happened Later
Poetic, poignant and clever, What Happened Later is a unique and engaging story of two lives that were forever changed by one book. In 1967, only ten years after the sensational success of On the Road, Jack Kerouac was a physically broken, spiritually lost man. Late that summer, accompanied by his friend, Joe Chaput, Kerouac set out for Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, on a spiritual quest to connect with his French-Canadian roots. Predictably, the trip was a drunken, chaotic disaster, and a little more than two years afterward, Kerouac was dead.
Fifteen years later, after falling under the spell of the larger-than-life-myth of Jack Kerouac, a working-class, small-town Ontario teenager named Ray Robertson embarked upon his own quest – to own a copy of On the Road.
Rebuffed at every turn in his attempt to possess the elusive novel, Robertson nonetheless slowly begins to recognize the existence of a world beyond the factories, hockey rinks and suburbs of his hometown, and also begins to comprehend his own French-Canadian heritage.
Taking its title from Kerouac himself – What Happened Later was the title of his proposed sequel to On the Road, – this novel tells the story of what happened after the fame generated by Kerouac’s famous book and what happened next in the life of a young man infatuated with the legendary author. Interweaving the story of one author’s slow decline with one boy’s literary coming of age, What Happened Later explores the ever-shifting dualities of myth and reality, loss and hope, innocence and experience, endings and beginnings.