On The Road

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On The Road

by Jack Kerouac

Penguin Books | January 1, 1976 | Trade Paperback

On The Road is rated 4 out of 5 by 14.
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac''s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac''s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 7.77 × 5.14 × 0.6 in

Published: January 1, 1976

Publisher: Penguin Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140042598

ISBN - 13: 9780140042597

Found in: Literary

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Putting it down for now I've always wanted to read this book as I am very interested in classic works, but after reading a thrilling action packed book series it was just a little slow for me. I shall pick it up again since I want to read it and admire the writing but at this moment I have to put it down.
Date published: 2014-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 90 mph at midnight Having read some of W.S. Burroughs and A. Ginsberg, i thought I better read some Kerouac as well. I am glad I did. When I was in the bookstore buying this, a nice old man told me about a quote about Kerouac’s “On The Road” by Truman Capote. Capote said of the work; “That’s not writing, it’s typing”, and with all due respect i disagree. While the form of the writing may be a blur, the vision is clear, a world through the bleary eyes of Sal Paradise. Sal has no use for women except for their company on the town or in the backseat and this is apparent by the way he rarely describes the women in the story. But the men get far deeper treatment, all given back stories involving Sal in the past, just like the way you would hear about your friend’s friend. There were chapters that were only 7 pages long, but covered 1500 miles of highway, most of which driven in the dead of night. After those 7 short pages, you are exhausted, like you were up driving that whole time. Kerouac has a way of making you feel you are on the road with him. Less emphasis on dramatic description and more focus on gut reaction. You grow with Sal on his journey, never sure if you like him or not, but always wondering if he will ever rid himself of Dean Moriarty. The beat movement was based in San Fransisco, but On the road happens before the city was ruined by peace and love drum circles and acid flashbacks. I can see why this has been labelled a “must read” but can also see why literary types might not enjoy it. The story deals less with where it is going, but more with how it is getting there.
Date published: 2011-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life, Travel, And The Road This is the kind of book you know you're going to like, before you Finnish the first page. Jack Karlovac does a great job of showing how much fun life can be when you are young and stupid. Traveling in a car across the United States and part of Mexico, doesn't hurt either. This book also shows how life can change as you get older, and not always for the better either. This book is lot like The sixties with jazz instead of rock, and short hair instead of long hair. But yet in some ways Maybe even more fun. If you like cars, traveling, Jazz, or life, Read this book. The sooner the better.
Date published: 2010-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dean had gone mad again... A Review of On the Road by Jack Kerouac I was really thrilled to finally find an excuse to read ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac. It is such as standard reference to all thinks beat, “the Huckleberry Finn of the mid-twentieth century” (back matter). Kerouac effectively conveys a feeling of being restless in America and certainly pioneers in a new way the meaning of “road trip.” This is how it begins: “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road” (1). There is a rhythm to Kerouac’s style that pushes through the text. I think it is an important book, a beacon of prose for much of what comes afterward. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect Kerouac’s inspiration comes from works including Black Boy by Richard Wright and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Wright’s book is an autobiography of his escape from Jim Crow South, Ellison’s is also a journey across the racial divide dealing with the nature of bigotry. In contrast to their poignant and gut wrenching writings, Kerouac’s emphasis is more on the emotionally lifeless, the escape not from bigotry but from formless angst. This is one of the best literary passages I’ve ever come across: “Well, Sal, guess who’s coming to Denver?” I had no idea. “He’s on his way already, I got this news from my grapevine. Dean bought a car and is coming out to join you.” I had a vision of Dean, burning shuddering frightful Angel, palpitating toward me across the road, approaching like a cloud, with enormous speed, pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler on the plain, bearing down on my. I saw his huge face over the plains with the mad, bony purpose and the gleaming eyes; I saw his wings; I saw his old jalopy chariot with thousands of sparking flames shooting out from it; I saw the path it burned over the road; it even made its own road and went over the corn, through cities, destroying bridges, drying rivers. It came like wrath to the West. I knew Dean had gone mad again… Everything was up, the jig and all. Behind him charred ruins smoked. He rushed westward over the groaning and awful continent again, and soon he would arrive. (259) In addition to the recommended books by Richard Wright, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Wolfe I would add Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man and Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby and Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays.
Date published: 2008-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A nice surprise I started reading "On the road" because of the reputation of Jack Kerouac - an author that has been reputed as the icon who wrote this book that "shaped the generation turning 50". The whole story is divided into four parts: the various journey of Sal Paradise traveling between the East and West coast, and the portrayal of a special character named Dean Moriarty, a life that only lives for the moment and all its indulgences. Other than learning all about American geography and a generation of lost and indulgence, I witnessed a new writing style that gives a sense of urgency. When I read the words of "On the Road", I felt as if the character Sal Paradise was actually talking to me, with a level of excitement that I could not attempt to turn away. This book is a nice surprise.
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Garbage This book was the worst thing that i have ever read! it is actually an insult to people who read books. More so it is terrible for this book to be popular because there are so many other better authors out there is the world trying to make their way and this guy is out there insulting them all. This mans book is the reason why people hate reading and why movies are so much better!
Date published: 2007-10-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Pretentious and dull. Do you enjoy meaningless "poetic" musings such as "The landscape mystified my longing"? Then you will like this book. If, like me, you prefer something with a plot that makes SENSE, you will hate it. All of the characters are totally unlikeable, especially the women, who serve only as bodies and have no personality whatsoever.
Date published: 2006-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This has to be one of the best novels of the twentieth century. You lose youself in the text and resuface a changed person. A must read.
Date published: 2005-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing What can I say?? This book is amazing. If you are searching for the true you, read this book. This book has made everything in my life come together. A great friend of mine recommended this book to me and said I would love it. I guess he knows me a little more than I know myself. I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to find themself. I have found myself thanks to my great friend for recommending this book to me.
Date published: 2002-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from On The Road Few books have the power to make you examine your own life after you have read it. Even fewer books have the mystique and eloquence that bring tears to your eyes as you compare the expereinces the main character has to those events that take place in your own life. On The Road by Jack Kerouac is one of these books. It tells the story of Sal a young author and his many travels with his eccentric pal Dean. Somewhat autobiographical describing Kerouacs journeys with Neil cassidy the book captures your emotions and reveals to you the life of the beat generation, exciting, risky and sometimes horrible. If you are a person who is lost and trying to find a book to help you identify what you are feeling this book is a must read. On the road is truly a contemporary classic and I can easily say it was one of the best books I have ever read. Read this book it has the potential to change your life, or at least the way you look at it.
Date published: 2001-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True American Classic On the Road is Jack Kerouac’s masterful look at the 1940s America. In it we follow Salvatore Paradise, an aspiring writer, as he crisscrosses the country in search of adventure. Along the way he becomes acquainted with many interesting characters Dean Moriarty, crazed poster child of the Beat generation or Carlo Marx, the enigmatic philosopher. This novel not only acts as a picture post card of this magnificent era in American history but also as a testament to the human condition. Much like Dean Moriarty, it is hard for the reader not to dig everyone in this novel. It retells as tale as old as time in a modern setting and does it with such flair and enthusiasm that its hard not to jump for joy as Sal travels from New York to San Francisco to New Orleans to Mexico. Kerouac’s writing style seems as relaxed as some of his characters and some readers may have trouble with his prose, which seems to slosh from the pages in a great deluge. Don’t let it discourage you lest you miss out on this wonderful tale of life and all that makes it important. Kerouac weaves a masterful tapestry of human nature.
Date published: 2001-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expand your mind... THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE, and I guarantee it will affect you whether you enjoy it or not. Maybe you'll discover that you have no imagination and you can't deal with something different, and then you can go back to reading Stephen King and John Grisham. Just maybe you'll be completely blown away and suddenly realize that all the most interesting, open-minded people you've ever met PRAISE this book. If you're just a little curious why, well then don't wait 'til your almost dead to indulge that curiosity because you'll kick yourself. Briefly; This is a semi-autobiographical novel about Kerouac's travels across America in the 50's. It has no straightforward plot, no good-guys or bad-guys, no climax or anything you've been told a book should have. I find it a little depressing in someways, to me it speaks of the profound loneliness of life. But what you should get out of it is that life happens in movement, that you have to get up and go if you want to get anywhere. Maybe you think you already know that. Okay, well you just keep telling yourself that...
Date published: 2000-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fittingly Bad I found myself about fifty pages in saying, "What is this book getting at? Please get at it soon?". The Beat generation said the exact same thing about life. They were often bored and looking for more and I believe Kerouc intended to note this quality by writing his book boringly. Do not get discouraged by this, the book goes on to be a pusuit of happiness and self-awareness. A 'hope for the future' book.
Date published: 2000-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Journey Jack Kerouac stuns with "On The Road." It is a mind numbing journey through life as well as a physical journey through North America. As I am a huge fan of the Beat Generation authors, learning a little about the lives of these men was fantastic.
Date published: 1999-07-09

– More About This Product –

On The Road

by Jack Kerouac

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 pages, 7.77 × 5.14 × 0.6 in

Published: January 1, 1976

Publisher: Penguin Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140042598

ISBN - 13: 9780140042597

Read from the Book

part one 1 I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles. First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who’d shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I was tremendously interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about Nietzsche and all the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty. This is all far back, when Dean was not the way he is today, when he was a young jailkid shrouded in mystery. Then news came that Dean was out of reform school and was coming to New York for the first time; also there was talk that he had just married a girl called Marylou. One day I was hanging around the campus and Chad and Tim Gray told me Dean was staying in a cold-water pad in East Harlem, the Spanish Harlem.
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From the Publisher

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac''s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac''s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago.

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

From Our Editors

If you can't lose yourself in a literal road trip, then the next best thing is to take a virtual trip with this classic nomadic novel. Join the meandering Sal Paradise as he wanders around the United States, visiting friends, getting drunk and searching for the meaning of life through sex, drugs and jazz. But On the Road is more than just an epic tale of one man's lifestyle. It takes readers on an incisive journey into the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac's prose beats with the pulse of 1940s culture while revealing exactly what he wants - and doesn't want - about his own place in that society.
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