Author: Jack Kerouac
Title: On The Road
Length: several trips
Type: mostly hitchhiking
Youth movement guy
The story: French-Canadian writer JK, who is based in New York City, undertakes a few road trips around the USA. Sometimes he is accompanied by friends, sometimes he stays in one place for a while, and sometimes he just drifts around. He takes up a few odd jobs, seeks sexual encounters, does drugs and generally parties a lot. And he seems to be obsessed with one of his buddies, a guy he calls Dean Moriarty.
the “beat generation”
JK is generally classified as a writer of a post-war youth movement called „the beat generation“, and this book is looked upon as something like its manifesto. Well, here’s one problem: Youth movements have a strong tendency to suck.
Jack Kerouac’s stream of consciousness
This travelogue is written in a narrative mode called „stream of consciousness“, and as such, I found it very wordy, if not to say boring. It was just endless paragraphs going on and on about people who seem to be obsessed with themselves. I didn’t like it.
poetic, but boring
Sure, there were some moments where JK’s poetic talent showed through (“At dusk I walked. I felt like a speck on the surface of the sad red earth.”), but overall, it was still a pretty boring read.
Travel writing has been good before the appearance of this book, and it has been good after it as well. There are many things I’d rather be reading than this bloated stream of egotism.