On the Road (Paperback)
|Author: Jack Kerouac|
|The novel that defined the Beat generation, this exuberant tale of two men traversing America is as fresh and fantastic as ever.|
From the Publisher:
The novel that defined the Beat generation, this exuberant tale of two men traversing America is as fresh and fantastic as ever.
Sal Paradise, a young writer, travels from New York to Los Angeles with his friend Dean Moriarty, and an assorted hodgepodge of women, bohemians, and others. Rich descriptions of characters, places and music show Kerouac's exuberance and his love of the freedom of the road. Revolutionary not only in subject matter but also in style, this book (written in 1950) launched the Beat movement and crowned Jack Kerouac its king. Autobiographical, as are most of Kerouac's books, ON THE ROAD involves characters who were Kerouac's real-life friends and Beat cohorts: Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs (here appearing, as in Burroughs's own fiction, as the character Bill Lee). Publishing legend has it that Kerouac typed the manuscript frenziedly on large rolls of Teletype paper, not pausing for revision, and deposited these rolls on the desk of his startled editor.
"Quite apart from its characterizations, which are given and illustrated rather than developed, the chief distinction of this novel is its sentimental emotion. Certainly, 'On the Road' is a romantic treatment of delinquency and, as such, is of considerable interest." - Gene Baro 09/15/1957 New York Times
"Any attempt to label an entire generation is unrewarding, and yet the generation which went through the last war, or at least could get a drink easily once it was over, seems to possess a uniform, general quality which demands an adjective....The origins of the word 'beat' are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul: a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself. A man is beat whenever he goes for broke and wagers the sum of his resources on a single number; and the young generation has done that continually from early youth." - John Clellon Holmes 11/16/1952 New York Times Book Review
"'On the Road' belongs to the new Bohemianism in American fiction in which an experimental style is combined with eccentric characters and a morally neutral point of view. It is not so much a novel as a long affectional lark inspired by the so-called 'beat' generation, and an example of the degree to which some of the most original work being done in this country has come to depend upon the bizarre and offbeat for its creative stimulus....As a portrait of a disjointed segment of society acting out of its own neurotic necessity, 'On the Road' is a stunning achievement. But it is a road, as far as the characters are concerned, that leads nowhere--and which the novelist himself cannot afford to travel more than once." - David Dempsey 09/08/1957 Washington Post Book World
"While 'On the Road' is certainly autobiographical, it is much less a book about Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac than it is a full-length portrait of Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassady....By some magic Kerouac managed not just to capture him on the page, but to endow the whole book wish his manic energy....Something in me resists calling 'On the Road' a novel. It has not a trace of a plot....Yet it is the most readable of books, for it has great narrative drive and tremendous...energy." - Bruce Cook 08/31/1997 in conversation
"That's not writing, that's typing." - Truman Capote
Customer Reviews of On the Road
On the Road - A Favorite Read4/3/2013
For over thirty years, I have been fascinated about the counterculture evolution from "Beat" to "Hippie". If you are going to understand the era from the perspective of a major participant, reading "On the Road" is a must. Kerouac introduces us to the various Beat-generation characters using wonderfully lyrical prose. I love the book, and this is the kindling that fired my own road trip west. I can hardly wait to see the movie, but you need to read the book to appreciate Kerouac's craft.
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