Book Notes: "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac

On The Road (Popular Penguins)On The Road by Jack Kerouac

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kerouac represents the next evolution in American twentieth-century literature in my view. I am also curious about the fascination with the Dharma at Big Sur and the Great Divide exemplified by the music of my most favourite composer, John Adams, and the appearance of these themes in Jack Kerouac's work. The continental fascination in Adams' work is clearly explored in On the Road. The Beat Age is clearly the mid-life crisis of Fitzgerald's Jazz Age which evolves into the hippy era in old age. Kerouac captures this beautifully and I can only imagine the reception the novel received in the 1950s. Kerouac is so obviously lining himself up with Hemingway that it is not only obvious but overt. I suspect Steinbeck's influence is somewhat more covert. Yet Kerouac's influence on popular culture is more than obvious and readers can expect to notice parts of On the Road that appear unoriginal, yet this is obviously the original source for the nuances that are so prolific today. I felt a tinge of sadness as I approached the end of the book, almost as if I wished the road would keep going forever. In many ways, I suspect this was Kerouac's point. Definitely one of my favourite reads and I am now exploring Cormac McCarthy's The Road to keep the theme going. Kerouac certainly makes me want to go on a road trip sooner rather than later. If only I could drive the Cadillacs and Plymouths and Fords of that era!

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