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The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac (edition 2012)

by Joyce Johnson

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462251,994 (4.33)3
Member:railarson
Title:The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
Authors:Joyce Johnson
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
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The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac by Joyce Johnson

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Johnson is the first biographer of Jack Kerouac to delve into his inner conflict of being Franco-Canadian and American. She writes about how this conflict, and the feeling of always not quite fitting in, made an impact on his writing and his style. Told with love and compassion for a cast of characters who must have been hard to love, especially Jack at times, the influence of the Beat Generation on literature and society, comes through. This is a well-written, heavily researched book worthy of repeat readings. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 23, 2015 |
Impressive, enthralling – and probably Kerouac’s last wish.

Just the compilation of this book is astounding. Hunting through all his letters, ceaseless journals, half written manuscripts, and the personal accounts and books of his friends and lovers – is a monumental task. The author Joyce Johnson related in a book reading in Brooklyn that this book took her 4 years to write. Each bit of information was cataloged with copious notes. The painstaking research is so dedicated it seems to be a testament of love.

Johnson succeeds in describing Kerouac’s life. She shows both, how he is seen by others and how he sees himself. Combining these with his published books and history, a picture of Kerouac comes together in a book which he would never have been able to write himself. It’s absolutely gripping to watch the intensity in which Kerouac lives in his journals. The dark raging inner struggles and his need to live every second of his life to the fullest, sheds light on what it means to be in the beat generation.

I can only help feel like what Kerouac had been trying to describe his whole life in his books can only accurately and fully be described by Johnson in his biography. Johnson shows Kerouac’s life and the way he lived, dedicated to dreams and passion, was his real accomplishment. ( )
  michelle.mount | Jan 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670025100, Hardcover)

A groundbreaking portrait of Kerouac as a young artist—from the award-winning author of Minor Characters

In The Voice is All, Joyce Johnson, author of her classic memoir, Door Wide Open, about her relationship with Jack Kerouac, brilliantly peels away layers of the Kerouac legend to show how, caught between two cultures and two languages, he forged a voice to contain his dualities.  Looking more deeply than previous biographers into how Kerouac’s French Canadian background enriched his prose and gave him a unique outsider’s vision of America, she  tracks his development from boyhood through the phenomenal breakthroughs of 1951 that resulted in the composition of On the Road, followed by Visions of Cody. By illuminating Kerouac’s early choice to sacrifice everything to his work, The Voice Is All deals with him on his own terms and puts the tragic contradictions of his nature and his complex relationships into perspective.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

A profile of the iconic author's early years offers insight into his efforts to bridge his dual cultural heritage while exploring how his French Canadian background enriched his prose.

(summary from another edition)

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