TWO TRAVEL THROUGH, Glen Gainsbrugh and Peter Whitehead, Signet, 1968
If we've learned one thing through the investigation of these forgotten novels, it's that even the most minor writers leave an internet presence. The digital histories of these creators can be abundant or sparse, but never totally absent.
Unless, of course, the writers never existed in the first place.
As my googling reveals, that seems to be the case here, with "Glen Gainsbrugh" and "Peter Whitehead." Much is made by the packagers of their actual existence and experience as "18-year-old drop-outs" who are writing this novel based on actual experience within "the sex and drug scene." Yet actually opening the book reveals the staidest, most mature prose and composed plotting, with none of the arbitrariness and verisimilitude of autobiography. This is a book that tries to convey a louche atmosphere by mentioning that copies of Lawrence Durrell's THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET were present. L-seven, man! I can see with little effort an aged hack writer grinding this out to capitalize on the Summer of Love.
And that's the historical lesson of this entry. Just how fast hippies and their milieu were co-opted and commodified by THE MAN. Until today we hardly blink when Elvis Costello does a Lexus ad, as cited by Messr. Witcover earlier.
And speaking of the marketplace: I discovered that this is another rare paperback, selling for $25.00 and upwards online. Hold on to your copy!
Finally, though, we must admit that the commodification of the hippie ethos made for some great cultural artifacts. Here's the back cover to TWO TRAVEL THROUGH.