Tracking the Serpent: Journeys Into Four Continents

Janine Pommy Vega, Author, Janine Pommy-Vega, Author
Janine Pommy Vega, Author, Janine Pommy-Vega, Author City Lights Books $12.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87286-327-9
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/2001
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The story of the Beat Generation is one of the most fascinating chapters in American literary history, but until recently recognition of the lives and work of the women writers of that movement has been spotty at best. Vega, a poet who was included in Brenda Knight's 1996 anthology, Women of the Beat Generation, here recounts her adventures in a lyrical memoir organized into four loosely related essays. She traces her lifelong thirst for travel back to her childhood in Union City, N.J., when her father, a milkman, took her along on his route, awakening her curiosity about the world beyond familiar limits. As a teenager, she was attracted to the bohemian lifestyle of the Beats, and moved to New York, where she met and fell in love with Fernando Vega, a Peruvian painter. They lived and traveled in Paris, Ibiza and Jerusalem until his sudden death at the age of 33. Devastated by her loss, Vega began a pilgrimage, a search for life's meaning. She visited ancient sites in England and Ireland; journeyed through the Amazon jungle; braved the threat of Shining Path guerrillas in the high Andes; and endured great hardships in the Himalayas--all in a quest for insight into sacred female religious power, or serpent power. Vega's memoir is somewhat disjointed, but nonetheless affecting, as she travels the world seeking consolation, challenge and inspiration. (Sept.)
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