On the Road

On the Road

Book - 2007
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"As he travels across 1950s America, aspiring writer Sal Paradise chronicles his escapades with the charismatic Dena Moriarty. Sal admires Dean's passion for experiencing as much as possible of life and his wild flights of poetic fancy."
Publisher: Westminster, Md. : Books on Tape, p2007, c1999.
Edition: Library ed.
ISBN: 9781415943403
1415943400
Branch Call Number: CD FIC KER
Characteristics: 9 sound discs (ca. 75 min. each) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Patton, Will

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m
maiki69
Nov 10, 2019

The road trip is a popular theme in American literature. Ever since Lewis and Clark chronicled their expedition of 1804, America's appetite for the genre has been insatiable. But there's more to a successful story than the mere nuts and bolts of a travelogue; it needs soul, character, and - above all else - tension to keep the pages turning.

Perhaps the most famous chronicle of the road trip genre is Jack Kerouac's enduring classic, ON THE ROAD (New American Library, $3.95). Originally published in 1957, it tosses convention on its ear and through a seemingly endless series of run-on sentences put the Beat Generation firmly on the map. At the time of its writing, the seedy subculture that was to become known as Beat took a backseat to the post-war economic boom enjoyed by mainstream America, shut out - as it were - of the party, and so created their own party out of jazz joints and urban ghettos composed of other disenfranchised souls in search of It: It, being riding the edge of the moment; It, being the freaky booze-addled, drug-induced alt-reality that lent to misfits a sense of belonging, altogether divorced of the post-war apocalyptic military-industrial fever quietly sweeping through "respectable" circles. It, the antithesis of respectability, It, out of this world.

Upon completion of the manuscript, Kerouac purportedly delivered it to his publisher on one continuous roll of paper which he'd pounded out on the keys of a typewriter in practically one sitting which in itself is a feat and very Beat approach to writing which you gotta dig if for nothing else the cat's unique style. The story follows Sal Paradise in his pursuit west from New York to Denver, then San Francisco, back the other direction and eventually south to Mexico and back, at times in the presence of Dean Moriarty a practically god-like figure in Sal's eyes for his checkered past and bold present pursuit of self-gratification and his father a seemingly mythical creature always just out of reach, the source of Dean's angst and excuse for his wanderlust: Dad's a hobo. Though Sal uses the senior Moriarty as his reason for much of his travels - he sincerely wishes to see the father and son reunited - there's a bromance going on here that cannot be denied, Sal knows it, Dean knows it and it's the underlying tension of it that makes ON THE ROAD a page turner, the tension of longing, the tension that comes from the difference between the idea of Dean Moriarty and the reality of Dean Moriarty, loser, winner, player, dreamer, conspirator, user, and sadly, liability. When plans are made to see Europe together, despite their enthusiasm we just know it's never going to happen for these cats, the junior Moriarty trapped as it were in his father's legacy, pursued by Sal just as his father is pursued by the son, eternally just out of reach. Europe never does happen for these cats - no surprise to either of them - but how it never happens makes for a great read.

Did I mention Kerouac's penchant for run-on sentences?

w
Waluconis
Aug 04, 2019

Was there ever a novel with a history like this one? When Jack Kerouac brought the manuscript for "On The Road" into the publisher's office, it was on one long, taped-together scroll with no pagination and no paragraph breaks. When he was told that they liked it, but it needed be made more uniform, he said that it could not be changed because it was dictated to him by the Holy Ghost. (Where are these kinds of writers today?) The publishers insisted and eventually wore him down to allow a large edit. The history of all that is contained in this volume, and also other insightful essays. The original publication of the edited "On The Road" exploded into a phenomenon that effected even America life styles. This famous book, read and aught for years, was not the one that Kerouac had written. Ginsberg stated all along that the publishers had ruined the book, and I thought he was just being his rebellious self. But Ginsberg was right. Many passages removed were the most perceptive and salient on America. The Beats have been justifiably criticized for their views on gender - but all the parts of the scroll on women that had strong, effective positions and perspectives were removed. Also more convenient and valuable in the scroll is that all the names of the people are their real names. This says nothing for passages of Kerouac's lyrical style that had been excised. In short, if you have not read the Scroll, then you have not read Jack Kerouac's "On the Road."

l
lendmeyourears2017
Jun 02, 2019

I want to see what he has seen.

I want to know the people he has known.

I want to share these experiences.

Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac takes you on a truly satisfying trip, told in journal style, down the American back roads in the 50’s, during the Eisenhower post-WWII prosperity the rest of the population was enjoying. You’re experiencing this journey along with the main character as he paints a picture with words… a verbal picture of the America he lives in during those years.

He uses rich descriptive phrases so you feel as if you have met his companions. Sal tells about his friends who “never say a common place thing”. This book is filled with great thought provoking quotes - “East of my youth, West of my future”, which gives the listener an idea of where this story is in time and space for Sal. It underscores the restless searching quality of all the characters throughout this book.

In another anecdote, Sal complains about the troubles he has with hitchhiking but not what you would expect, ie. not being able to get a ride. The problem was having to talk all the time to people who gave you rides.

Matt Dillon, the reader, has great pacing and vocal tone. His delivery goes from matter of fact to high energy as the story dictates. With audio books, the reader is as important as the book he/she reads.

Listening to this book is like catching up with a comfortable old friend…that wild eyed wacky guy that your mother warned you about. But you love this rascal friend and want to keep up with his latest escapades. You chuckle and smile to yourself later at the recollection of the time spent together. Go on the road with Jack Kerouac, even if it is only in your mind!

h
Hoangsamuelson
May 29, 2019

This book made no sense to me. Halfway through, I realized it was just a random series of events about driving across the country. Too many run-on sentences. The plot was going nowhere. Did not enjoy it.

m
MustInvolveEggs
May 25, 2019

I read that Joan Haverty Kerouac brought her husband split pea soup to keep him going while he wrote this book. If that’s true, it is now my #1 reason to hate split pea soup. To be fair to On The Road, it’s great material for drinking games. You could take a shot whenever the narrator’s race fetish peeks through, whenever he checks out a group of girls and makes sure to note that they’re teenagers, whenever he and his bros fantasize about beating up a queer person, whenever Marylou is called a whore, whenever Galatea’s husband abandons her, whenever the writing makes you wonder if maybe it just skimmed over rape, or whenever the narrator calls the women he’s sleeping with stupid. (Kinda telling on himself there). The possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, it’s still a boring, exhausting book.

r
rdtansey
Feb 25, 2019

I really tried to understand what Kerouac was trying to say in this book - there isn't much of a plot and the book just ends. After reading the reviews it is supposed to be an anti-capitalism statement about "living in the moment" and not being driven by money, working 8 hour days, etc. I didn't get that at all and it may be because I was not around during the beat era. The main character could probably be diagnosed as a narcissistic bi-polar user of people. Why anyone would follow this guy across country multiple times is beyond me. It's great to be young and carefree but we all have responsibilities and eventually you grow up (in most cases). Kerouac's writing style also takes some getting used to - at times it is poetry like. I am glad I read the book. I just don't think it deserves all the accolades it has received.

w
whatcomhillwalker
Feb 15, 2019

When it was written it was an expose of the shadow side and hidden aspects of the American dream. The original road trip book for America. By now it has been done so many times in book and in film that I can't imagine it still holds any insights that haven't been overexposed. Yet still it continues to speak to others as it once spoke to me. Personally though, it was The Electric Koolaid Acid Test that got me excited about counter culture way more than Kerouac.

s
stewstealth
Sep 08, 2016

A stream of consciousnesses novel regarding the author's travels back and forth across America and eventually into Mexico most often with his friend Neal Cassady ( I read the original scroll version of this book which is not edited for drug use, sexuality nor were the names changed to prevent libel actions.) The characters are all flawed and in many instances not particularly likable. It would seem this was the author's intent, to show all the foibles in people. The author is a very good writer with many evocative paragraphs. Worth reading if you are interested.

x
xiaojunbpl12
May 25, 2016

Dean, the devil (vs S. Paradise's angel), driving me mad... till the end of the road/book, when I lost the grip on his soul.
Not for one who focus on pure rational description of human behavior, who is only comfortable with plain coherent form, who sticks to what should be avoided, or abide the moral standards judged by language used... not for one whose head and heart in faraway chambers.

IMolina3 Jun 25, 2015

I just watch this movie because of kristen stewart was in it..

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m
maiki69
Nov 10, 2019

Perhaps the most famous chronicle of the road trip genre is Jack Kerouac's enduring classic, ON THE ROAD (New American Library, $3.95). Originally published in 1957, it tosses convention on its ear and through a seemingly endless series of run-on sentences put the Beat Generation firmly on the map. Composed of other disenfranchised souls in search of It, Beats reveled in a freaky booze-addled, drug-induced alt-reality that lent to misfits a sense of belonging, altogether divorced of the post-war apocalyptic military-industrial fever quietly sweeping through "respectable" circles of society.

The story follows Sal Paradise in his pursuit west from New York to Denver, then San Francisco, back the other direction and eventually south to Mexico and back, often in the presence of Dean Moriarty a practically god-like figure in Sal's eyes for his checkered past and bold pursuit of self-gratification. Although Dean comes across as a cool cat, by story's end we realize it's a false persona, a band-aid for the father issues he's plagued with.

Maybe more than any other book in American Literature, ON THE ROAD created a subculture movement by exposing and celebrating it. With Woodstock, sixties counterculture was brought mainstream. Kerouac, with ON THE ROAD, did the same for the Beats.

PimaLib_WilliamB May 06, 2015

A decent but not outstanding adaptation of Kerouac's novel. This one always seemed too hard to film, and indeed, the end result isn't the best result, but seeing the characters come off the pages and alive is enjoyable and Viggo Mortensen as William S. Burroughs is a scene stealer.

PimaLib_WilliamB May 06, 2015

Kerouac wrote most of his famous book on a scroll through his typewriter so he would keep a continuous train of thought. The resulting manuscript is now available here (though, not in scroll form!) to be read as Kerouac originally wrote it, with the names of his fellow "Beat" friends and authors named. It's an exhaustive read but worth it for the fans.

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m
maiki69
Nov 10, 2019

. . . the junior Moriarty trapped as it were in his father's legacy, [is] pursued by Sal just as his father is pursued by the son, eternally just out of reach.
http://www.penhead.org/

s
sawing85
Jun 12, 2014

You boys going to get somewhere or just going?

j
justpooki
Mar 23, 2013

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”

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rUngrich
Feb 28, 2011

rUngrich thinks this title is suitable for 35 years and under

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