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On the Road (1957)

by Jack Kerouac

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
26,87836999 (3.64)950
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.… (more)
  1. 122
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (MyriadBooks)
  2. 82
    On the Road : The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac (tootstorm)
    tootstorm: 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 74
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (thiagobomfim)
  5. 53
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values 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
    Go by John Clellon Holmes (gbill)
  9. 10
    Théorie du voyage : Poétique de la géographie by Michel Onfray (askthedust)
  10. 21
    The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (hippietrail)
  11. 10
    Tredje stenen från solen : roman by Claes Holmström (Sawengo)
  12. 00
    The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (CGlanovsky)
  13. 00
    Big Sur by Jack Kerouac (John_Vaughan)
  14. 00
    One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road by Gerald Nicosia (mrkay)
  15. 12
    Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (caflores)
    caflores: Gente que busca y no sabe qué.
  16. 13
    The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (hippietrail)
  17. 010
    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"
1950s (13)
Read (115)
Beat (10)
Books (23)
100 (53)
Read (16)
1960s (264)

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Showing 1-5 of 336 (next | show all)
Wow…that was a whirlwind. The writing style had me feeling as mad as Dean Moriarty was described to be. It definitely came from a different time and place, but how amazing to just drop everything and road-trip across the country on a whim and a couple bucks. It must have been an interesting time. It was certainly described in detail throughout, sometimes a bit to the detriment of the material. ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
Meh. I knew going in that this genre isn't really my thing, but I've always wanted to know what the book was. So, not I've read it. I'm glad I did, since I can now see how its influence has vined out into all sorts of works, both literary and otherwise, but I can't say I enjoyed it much. Sal/Jack et al. seem so self-indulgent and self-serious. Blech. ( )
2 vote electrascaife | Apr 20, 2023 |
I've completed my second attempt at reading one of the great books of the 20th century, On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Sadly, I think I enjoyed A Passage to India more, and if you read my review of that book you know that isn't saying much.

On the Road is the story of two men, Sal and Dean, who travel across the country, multiple times I might add. It is known as THE work focused on the Beat Generation, the demographic that was disenchanted with life right after World War II.

The book does a reasonable job as presenting the characters as bored with their lives. But the whole story basically repeats one theme four or five times: Sal is bored. Dean comes on the scene. Dean creates excitement because he is crazy. Sal and Dean obtain a vehicle. Sal and Dean hitchhike and/or drive around. Yeah, Dean gets married several times in there and a few other thinly drawn characters emerge, but I believe I've captured the essence of the plotline.

The style is a first person narrative filled with run on sentences. Kerouac paints great visuals, but he sucks at suspense and is only a hair better at character development. In other words, he's a pretty boring writer.

Here's a very typical sample: Carlo's basement apartment was on Grant Street in an old red brick rooming house near a church. You went down an alley, down some stone steps, opened an old raw door, and went through a kind of cellar till you came to his board door. It was like the room of a Russian saint: one bed, a candle burning, stone walls that oozed moisture, and a crazy makeshift ikon of some kind that he had made. He read me his poetry. It was called "Denver Doldrums." Carlo woke up in the moring and heard the "vulgar pigeons" yakking in the street outside his cell; he saw the sad nightingales" nodding on the branches and they reminded him of his mother. . ."

And that paragraph continues on for another twenty sentences. The visuals are terrific, but a book full of this makes for dull reading.

So, again, how this book made three lists of modern "greats" escapes me. But again, like A Passage to India, I believe that this book is being held up for its social commentary without regard for whether or not it is actually interesting to read.

Personally, I put a lot of stock in interesting. I'm just really happy I've finished it. Finally.

Tension/Engaging: 1 star
Language: 4 stars
Emotion: 1 star
Character Development: 2 star
Dialogue: 2 stars
Worth the Effort: 1 star
Social commentary/theme: 4 stars
Originality: 4 stars ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Because a book is seen by some as iconic doesn't necessarily make it a great book. I decided to read On the Road because of how often I've seen it referenced. What a disappointment. If we take it as the representation of an emerging world view at a particular point in history, I can accept that it does represent vividly. As they completed their triumphs of overcoming the Great Depression and two World Wars, the Silent Generation also contained seeds of desperation. Free spirits rejected marriage commitments, the work ethic and other cultural norms. It was romantic to wander the country, treating relationships, drugs and open road as hedonistic amenities available to anyone who could beg a dime or seduce a "bang" from someone else. America was full of colorful characters, swaying to soulful music while desperately trying to find home. If that's the cultural message of On the Road, the book conveys it in attention-getting form. My rating is based on the story, which is as meandering as the characters within it. The people are sad, and their behaviors repetitive, to the point that I couldn't see the point in continuing. Jumping to the critics' views, which I rarely do before finishing a book, I realized there wasn't any reason to continue on to the second half. I expect this will be a book that won't age well. It might remain a primary work to represent the Beat generation, but the perspectives about women seem more offensive than libertine. The protagonist, a version of Kerouac himself, references women as "juicy dolls" and having "little flanks that looked delicious." Regarding the writing, it's descriptive and was probably novel in style for its time. The story lacks plot. Like much of contemporary expression, once you see past the provocative content and flashy style, you're left wanting more and not finding it. ( )
  jpsnow | Mar 5, 2023 |
-story written without paragraph or chapter breaks.
-written as a stream of conciousness.
-about a road trip to the American West
-Kerouac takes lots of tangents to bring in back story. These tangents and the structure and style of the writing makes it a difficult read, especially in the original scroll. ( )
  wolfe.myles | Feb 28, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 336 (next | show all)
35 livres cultes à lire au moins une fois dans sa vie
Quels sont les romans qu'il faut avoir lu absolument ? Un livre culte qui transcende, fait réfléchir, frissonner, rire ou pleurer… La littérature est indéniablement créatrice d’émotions. Si vous êtes adeptes des classiques, ces titres devraient vous plaire.
De temps en temps, il n'y a vraiment rien de mieux que de se poser devant un bon bouquin, et d'oublier un instant le monde réel. Mais si vous êtes une grosse lectrice ou un gros lecteur, et que vous avez épuisé le stock de votre bibliothèque personnelle, laissez-vous tenter par ces quelques classiques de la littérature.
The wonder of Kerouac’s muscular, free-form, imagistic language still astonishes. He remains an essential American mythologiser – one caught up in that backstreet world of bohemian life, before it was transformed by the harsh social Darwinism of capitalism. The title of his one towering achievement became a turn of phrase that went global, and his name became an adjective. That strikes me as not a bad legacy for a boy from the mean streets of post-industrial New England. A hundred years after his birth, we still want to live that Kerouacian vision of life as one long cool stretch of highway.
El Sal Paradise de todas las ediciones conocidas de esta novela mítica es aquí, al fin, Kerouac. Y también Cassady, Ginsberg y Burroughs aparecen con sus verdaderos nombres. Con la publicación del rollo original, la gesta viajera y existencial de En la carretera se vuelve autobiográfica de pleno derecho y a plena luz del día, sin censura alguna. Y el relato adquiere toda su potencia narrativa. El lector tiene en sus manos una suerte de manifiesto de la beat generation. Seguimos a Kerouac y a toda la cáfila que desfila por estas páginas en toda su desnudez y penuria. Precursores del movimiento hippy y la contracultura de finales de los años sesenta, los personajes de esta novela pululan sin rumbo por Norteamérica. La sed vital insatisfecha, la búsqueda de horizontes de sentido, de dicha y de conocimiento y los atisbos místicos se estrellan contra una realidad inhóspita y desesperanzada. Un vívido compendio de los grandes temas, y al tiempo una apasionante aventura humana y una metáfora de la existencia. «El rollo original de On the Road es una de las más veneradas y enigmáticas reliquias de la literatura moderna... Un texto fascinante» (James Campbell, The Times Literary Supplement).
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Kerouacprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charters, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flesher, VivienneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmes, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pivano, FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauter, PeeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.
". . . 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.
Great beautiful clouds floated overhead, valley clouds that made you feel the vastness of old tumbledown holy America from mouth to mouth and tip to tip.
'You have absolutely no regard for anybody but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what's hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just throw them aside. Not only that but you're silly about it. It never occurs to you that life is serious and there are people trying to make something decent out of it instead of just goofing all the time.'
Every one of these things I said was a knife at myself. Everything I had ever secretly held against my brother was coming out: how ugly I was and what filth I was discovering in the depths of my own impure psychologies.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine with On the Road: The Original Scroll
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Sal Paradise, un giovane newyorkese con ambizioni letterarie, incontra Dean Moriarty, un ragazzo dell'Ovest. Uscito dal riformatorio, Dean comincia a girovagare sfidando le regole della vita borghese, sempre alla ricerca di esperienze intense. Dean decide di ripartire per l'Ovest e Sal lo raggiunge; è il primo di una serie di viaggi che imprimono una dimensione nuova alla vita di Sal. La fuga continua di Dean ha in sé una caratteristica eroica, Sal non può fare a meno di ammirarlo, anche quando febbricitante, a Città del Messico, viene abbandonato dall'amico, che torna negli Stati Uniti.
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Legacy Library: Jack Kerouac

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Average: (3.64)
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1 242
1.5 38
2 634
2.5 110
3 1358
3.5 278
4 1757
4.5 165
5 1515

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182679, 0140265007, 0141037482, 0141198206

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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