In this sequel to Keep This Quiet! Margaret relocates to Morocco with her exotic, fascinating, unstable Belgian poet husband Jan Mensaert. Living in villages, she experiences cooking on charcoal and shopping for fresh groceries daily with a basket in open air markets. But the main focus of the book is on her encounters with the three male protagonists, "outlaw" authors one and all, brilliantly creative and with the personalities that match. In once-yearly trips to the United Statets, she re-energizes on a diet of one-liner advice, deeply digested and wise, from genius-poet Milton Klonsky. This, she reports to the reader, magically as if her mind were a tape recorder. She also gets Gonzo updates from Hunter Thompson - two relationships that never lose their hold or significance, even necessity. From Morocco, to Belgium, to Switzerland, and the United States, Margaret pits wits with - learns from - and grows through these rare, close, sometimes romantic. relationships with men who exemplify authenticity. At one point, trying desperately to find her, Hunter writes, "Dear Margaret, Where are you and why? I've lost track completely. My last definite word was from a toilet-hole in Algiers." He wants her to work on his next manuscript. This is 1971. Moving from 1970 (Belgium/a Cairo honeymoon) to 1986 (the Jung Institute Zurich), the book ends up fittingly at Hunter's Owl Farm. Where else could the last two chapters take place? There, she reintroduces herself to Hunter. In fine form, he is trying to take the romance to the next level. Actually, they both are intent on it. Cover photograph of Hunter: Alan Becker
With an eye for surprising detail, Harrell conjures a charged and vivid milieu, even as the story she tells is often painful. She recounts time and again striving to salvage her marriage and rescue her husband from his addictions and secure treatment for his mental illness, as she travels to Morocco, Switzerland, New York and her home state of North Carolina. Her continued friendship with Klonsky provides an ongoing wellspring of inspiration, and she persuasively evangelizes for his essay collection A Discourse on Hip and corrects misapprehensions about him from Romulus Linney’s play Klonsky and Schwartz. Through it all, Harrell, a seeker, experiments with and endorses an idiosyncratic mix of religions, new age beliefs, and science.
These spiritual and metaphysical excursions, while essential to her story and a key element of the Beat ethos, at times distract from her abundant enticing experiences and insights, and her relationships with her subjects. Still, readers fascinated by these men, her world, and numerology and transcendentalism will find themselves on a journey with grand destinations throughout the globe and within the author’s consciousness.
Takeaway: A seeker’s memoir of life with poets, spirituality, and Hunter S. Thompson.
Great for fans of: Peter Richardson’s Savage Journey, Diane di Prima’s Memoirs of a Beatnik.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"A passionately written memoir that doesn't sit around being fit and proper and straight laced . . . As a key to the lives of these three writers it is idiosyncratic and in an age where blandness is the norm, it is a pleasure to go on her journey and find out a little about what made these men tick and what drove her to them."
"Any thinking, living person will be locked in from the beginning. A knowledge of the three men is not a must. She oozes sexuality, sensuality and I believe these traits go towards interweaving the three men. I believe it to be spellbinding. A hot sweaty tango of words. The bottom line is this. Not many books fulfill my reading needs. By this I mean covering a range of emotion.Without wanting to sound trite and saccharine all I can say is it’s a fantastic read. There’s more of HST in it. And that is reason alone for his fans to buy it... Having said that...This book is for everyone... Thanks Margaret."
"Keep THIS Quiet Too! is a real-life saga of living and learning with eyes and ears open. At times adventurous, at times sensual, Keep THIS Quiet Too! hinges upon the complexities of human relationships, especially the challenges posed by the heart-wrenching feelings of love that may or may not be fully requited. Highly recommended.
"In her brutally compassionately explicitly honest second autobiography, KEEP THIS QUIET TOO! More Adventures with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, Jan Mensaert, Harrell manages to repeatedly pull the rug out from underneath the reader. . . . From depth psychology to dream analysis to hangoutologies to ecstatic love making to out of body astral travels to spirit guides, adventures and misadventures, she guides herself and is guided ever homeward, to her own heart and soul."
"It starts with a wedding. Margaret Harrell pledges her life and love to poet Jan Mensaert, through all the ups and downs (and further downs) of his tempestuous life. As creative and business opportunities come and go, Margaret maintains her yearly meet-ups with mentor Milton Klonsky and keeps up on the maniacal maneuvering of friend Hunter S. Thompson. These three men will come to define much of the coming decades for Margaret, even as she grows, changes, and emerges anew as her own person. Keep This Quiet Too! is the second half of the bounding, time-jumping narrative of Margaret Harrell and three incredible, difficult men who helped make her who she is. . . . an honest and unflinching examination of the choices we make, both for those we love and for ourselves. The three men in Margaret’s life may have embodied key moments in it, but every decision was hers, and she accepts the consequences with grace. It’s an intriguing glimpse at four lives in one."