In American Smoke (Faber and Faber), the UK psychogeographer Iain Sinclair takes an extended road trip across North America in search of the lingering traces of his literary heroes: “the American Beats and their fellow travellers.” Sinclair’s pantheon of heroes includes the usual suspects—Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder et al.—but the edges have been blurred a bit to include other, less obvious figures: Roberto Bolaño, Malcolm Lowry, Charles Olson. Sinclair begins in the east, with a visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts, the one-time home of Charles Olson, “poet, scholar and last rector of Black Mountain College.” I was tickled to find a chapter titled “Dollarton” (Sinclair visits the site of Malcolm Lowry’s beachfront shack in Cates Park, North Vancouver, and carries away with him as souvenir “a yellow-gold beer cap, Corona Light, with rusty serrated rim and a black crown”) and another titled “Vancouver.” While in Vancouver, Sinclair gives a reading at Spartacus Books, an anti-capitalist bookstore then on West Hastings Street (“the sort of generously overstocked, musty cave that London no longer possessed”) and lunches with William Gibson. Over lunch Gibson tells Sinclair of a meeting with William S. Burroughs many years earlier, Gibson confessing that he had peeked inside Burroughs’s shaving kit while using the bathroom in Burroughs’s room at the Sylvia Hotel, and found “a rusty flip-lip Elastoplast tin, looking as if it had come safely through a combat zone. Inside were two black coins stamped with Nazi insignia. Curiosity made Gibson take his chance, when Burroughs was out of the room, to ask one of the minders, the young men in white tennis shoes, about the swastika coins. ‘Bill takes them everywhere. They’re going onto his eyes when he passes over.’” I wonder if they did.