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On the Road by Jack Kerouac
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On the Road (1957)

by Jack Kerouac

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,56223582 (3.69)764
  1. 111
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (MyriadBooks)
  2. 73
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (thiagobomfim)
  3. 52
    On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Jack Kerouac (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: If you still have the choice, do not pick up the originally-published edition and instead go for the Original Scroll. This should be on its way to replacing just plain ol' On the Road as the primo Kerouac (and even Beat) text for the adventurous romantics to become enamored with. More rhythm, more life, more of that depressing truth that filled Kerouac's subsequent work. It's a much stronger book.… (more)
  4. 30
    Off the Road: My Years With Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg by Carolyn Cassady (Jannes)
    Jannes: Interesting behind-the-scenes look, and also something of an counterpoint to the tendency of over-romanticizing Jack and the gang that we, or at least I, are sometimes guiltily of. If you're a Beat-geek you can't really ignore this one.
  5. 52
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (hippietrail)
  6. 20
    The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac (soulster)
  7. 10
    Cigarett : roman by Per Hagman (Sawengo)
  8. 10
    Tredje stenen från solen : roman by Claes Holmström (Sawengo)
  9. 10
    Théorie du voyage : Poétique de la géographie by Michel Onfray (askthedust)
  10. 21
    The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (hippietrail)
  11. 00
    Working the Aisles: A Life in Consumption by Robert Appelbaum (Anonymous user)
  12. 00
    Big Sur by Jack Kerouac (John_Vaughan)
  13. 00
    One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road by Gerald Nicosia (mrkay)
  14. 12
    Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (caflores)
    caflores: Gente que busca y no sabe qué.
  15. 13
    The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (hippietrail)
  16. 02
    Looking for Redfeather by Linda Collison (Linda.Collison)
    Linda.Collison: Looking for Redfeather was inspired in part, by Jack Kerouac's iconic story and is a 21st century homage to the novel. Kerouac's characters are older and less directed in their wanderings than the teens in Looking for Redfeather, who come of age on the road, yet they share the same restlessness and desire for life.… (more)
  17. 011
    Ye Ole Fiendly Towne and Other Whittier Zombie Haikus: Whittier is suddenly scoured with zombies! And just where is Doobie McDonald during these mayhaps...BAY-beh!? by Doobie McDonald (privycouncilpress)
    privycouncilpress: A road trip film symbolizing the mindtrip your soul will have while reading 'Ye Ole Fiendly Towne and Other Whittier Zombie Haikus"
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» See also 764 mentions

English (212)  French (5)  Italian (4)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (234)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
Why?
I listened to the audiobook because, after years of trying, I could not get through the print. The reason I wanted to get through this book is because I have been so immersed in Kerouac for the past 4 years (live and work in Lowell, MA - so it comes with the territory). People are shocked when they hear I have never finished On The Road, but I have enjoyed other Kerouac novels. I loved Visions of Gerard and enjoyed Maggie Cassidy as well as The Town and the City. I even sat through the worst play in the world because Kerouac wrote it and it was performed locally.
The reason this got 2 stars, and not just 1, is because the reader, Will Patton, really hit the Dean Moriarity nail on the head. His reading captured, what I suspect, is the Dean/Neil bipolar manic state so perfectly. That being said, Dean Moriarity is the reason I also disliked the book so much. I have no words to describe why I dislike him, but it is connected to the fact that he never just sits down and shuts up. This book, out of the 4 Keroauc books I have read, is the most steeped in racism, sexism, and narcissism. As much as Sal wants to settle down and get married, he is incapable of doing so (for whatever reason) yet he holds on to that plan as if it will someday just happen. Sal's infatuation with Dean is cultish. No matter how many times Dean screws him over, he comes right back. One of my colleagues thinks the final scene, where Sal decides to go to a concert over going on the road with Dean again, shows he is growing up. I don't agree. I feel like it was a momentary shift in desire. He wanted to see the concert more. I think the book didn't really end. There could be another section that starts with Sal realizing he was bored and wanted to see Alaska so he hitched a ride. Wait, who does he run into? Dean!
Sigh... At least I can say I finished this now... ( )
1 vote librarygurl | Oct 6, 2014 |
Why?
I listened to the audiobook because, after years of trying, I could not get through the print. The reason I wanted to get through this book is because I have been so immersed in Kerouac for the past 4 years (live and work in Lowell, MA - so it comes with the territory). People are shocked when they hear I have never finished On The Road, but I have enjoyed other Kerouac novels. I loved Visions of Gerard and enjoyed Maggie Cassidy as well as The Town and the City. I even sat through the worst play in the world because Kerouac wrote it and it was performed locally.
The reason this got 2 stars, and not just 1, is because the reader, Will Patton, really hit the Dean Moriarity nail on the head. His reading captured, what I suspect, is the Dean/Neil bipolar manic state so perfectly. That being said, Dean Moriarity is the reason I also disliked the book so much. I have no words to describe why I dislike him, but it is connected to the fact that he never just sits down and shuts up. This book, out of the 4 Keroauc books I have read, is the most steeped in racism, sexism, and narcissism. As much as Sal wants to settle down and get married, he is incapable of doing so (for whatever reason) yet he holds on to that plan as if it will someday just happen. Sal's infatuation with Dean is cultish. No matter how many times Dean screws him over, he comes right back. One of my colleagues thinks the final scene, where Sal decides to go to a concert over going on the road with Dean again, shows he is growing up. I don't agree. I feel like it was a momentary shift in desire. He wanted to see the concert more. I think the book didn't really end. There could be another section that starts with Sal realizing he was bored and wanted to see Alaska so he hitched a ride. Wait, who does he run into? Dean!
Sigh... At least I can say I finished this now... ( )
  librarygurl | Oct 6, 2014 |
On the Road captures Americana in a stronger and more vivid fashion than John Steinbeck did The Grapes of Wrath. On the Road covers the same route (and more) but doesn't water down the regional flavors with allegory. Instead American from New York to California and all parts in between is shown for its good, bad, rich, poor, and various ethnicities with humor and honesty.

Through Sal's numerous transcontinental road trips, Kerouac describes the regional beauty, quirks, culture and geography of every city and state the protagonist passes through. Of the cities I've either lived in or visited that are visited in this book I enjoyed the most--especially his numerous pilgrimages to San Francisco. His first entry into San Francisco is classic: "Over the Oakland Bay Bridge I slept soundly for the first time since Denver; so that I was rudely jolted in the bus station at Market and Fourth... and there she was, Frisco - long, bleak streets with trolley wires all shrouded in fog and whiteness... . Weird bums (Mission and Third) asked me for dimes in the dawn..." This opening paragraph to San Francisco is still apt, if not, perfect.

While the book is an icon of the Beat generation and Sal, the narrator, desires to be among that set, he's abysmal at it. Throughout the book he worships his friend Dean who is the wildly cool womanizing, debauched, drug addicted man Sal wants to be but Sal just can't manage to follow in Dean's footsteps. Whereas Dean will drive over 100 mph, steal cars and delight in getting drunk, Sal will either drive the speed limit or hide in the back when Dean is driving, try to return Dean's joy ridden cars, or want to sleep off the booze he's drunk when around Dean. It's Sal's valiant attempts to be like Dean while being unable to follow through that add a delicious irony to the novel.

In the end Sal and Dean and the rest of the gang part ways, having grown apart as they've matured over the course of the two years this book covers. The book ends on a somewhat sad note, looking back across the days of those crazy continental trips with nostalgia and longing. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 25, 2014 |
Just love this book, and every time I read it, it's my favorite again! And it has the best last sentence of a book - ever!!! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Aug 5, 2014 |
Deadbeat and his bipolar friend shuttle between East coast and SF. Kerouac can write but the content is juvenile and wasted, as well as extremely derogatory towards women. Forced myself to read 75% thru then skimmed the remainder. ( )
  joellegc | Jul 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
With his barbaric yawp of a book. Kerouac commands attention as a kind of literary James Dean.
added by Shortride | editTime (Sep 16, 1957)
 

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerouac, Jackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bueno, EduardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carradine, DavidReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charters, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jääskeläinen, MarkusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pivano, FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauter, PeeterTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.
Quotations
". . . and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are 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 yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
In the window I smelled all the food of San Francisco.   There were seafood places out there where the buns were hot, and the baskets were good enough to eat too; where the menus themselves were soft with foody esculence as though dipped in hot broths roasted dry and good enough to eat too.  Just show me the bluefish spangle on a seafood menu, and I'd eat it; let me smell the butter and lobster claws.  There were places where hamburgers sizzled on grills and the coffee was only a nickel.  And oh, that pan fried chow mein flavored air that blew into my room from Chinatown, vying with the spaghetti sauces of North Beach, the soft-shell crab of Fisherman's Wharf- nay, the ribs of Fillmore turning on spits! Throw in the Market street chili beans, red-hot, and french-fried potatoes of the Embarcadero wino night, and steamed clams from Sausalito across the bay, and that's ah-dream of San Francisco.  Add fog, hunger making, raw fog, and the throb of neons in the soft night, the clack of high heeled beauties, white doves in a Chinese grocery window.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with On the Road: The Original Scroll
Publisher's editors
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
A penniless writer named Sal Paradise becomes inspired to hitchhike across America, taking the listener on a freewheeling journey through the 1950s youth counterculture. Joining up with other fellow vagabonds who are in love with life and open to adventure, they explore jazz, sex, drugs, and mysticism on the fringes of society.

Credited as the book that launched Jack Kerouac's career, On the Road epitomized to the world the generation that Kerouac himself named as "beat." It created a sensation by chronicling a spontaneous and wandering way of life in a style that seemed founded both on jazz and on drug-induced visions.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140283293, Paperback)

The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it

Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.

It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.

Celebrating 50 Years of On the Road A 50th anniversary hardcover edition of Kerouac's classic novel that defined a generation. On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up. Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think): John Leland, author of Hip: A History argues that On the Road still matters not for its youthful rebellion but because it is full of lessons about how to grow up.


From the back cover of On the Road: The Original Scroll: Jack Kerouac displaying one of his later scroll manuscripts, most likely The Dharma Bums
Kerouac's map of his first hitchhiking trip, July-October 1947 (click image to see the full map)


Original New York Times review of On the Road (click image to see the full review)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:48 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Story of two restless young men in the late 1940s who cross and recross America, encountering parties, girls, drugs, loneliness and their own dreams along the way.

» see all 22 descriptions

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Audible.com

Five editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Five editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182679, 0140265007, 0141037482, 0241951534, 0141198206

The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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