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On the Road

Product no.: 0-14-028329-3
On the Road epitomized to the world what became known as "the Beat Generation" and made Kerouac one of the most controversial and best-known writers of his time.

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Publisher's Synopsis
In this novel of life on the road, experience for Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise, Kerouac's fictional alter ego, who shambles along after Dean's madcap adventures, must be intensified to strip one's rational preoccupations with this world and give them a sense of oneness with the All-Knowing God. In search of the ever elusive "IT," "the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever," the two friends' search for ecstasy takes them back and forth across the United States, and in one final trip down into Mexico, getting their kicks from all-night talk sessions, drunken parties, sex, drugs, an orgy with Mexican whores, and, most importantly, an exploration of jazz.

Behind the wheels of numerous automobiles, the two young men zigzag across the continent "leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing [their] one and noble function of the time, move."

Reviews
"The most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat,' and whose principal avatar he is."      ~The New York Times

Excerpt
"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, 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 that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

Biography
In April 1951, taping together twelve-foot-long sheets of tracing paper, and feeding them into his typewriter as a continuous roll, Kerouac completed On the Road in a marathon burst of typing that lasted three weeks. Discouraged that his "road" book, along with several other novels and collections of poetry written between 1952 and 1957 were continually turned down by New York publishers, Kerouac gave up on the publishing world and turned to Buddhist practice. In 1953, he began writing reading notes on Buddhism for his friend, Allen Ginsberg. As his Buddhist study intensified, what had begun as notes evolved into an all-encompassing work of nonfiction, incorporating poems, haiku, prayers, journal entries, meditations, fragments of letters, ideas about writing, overheard conversations, sketches, blues, and more. The final manuscript (published as Some of the Dharma by Viking in 1997) was completed in 1956, to become part of what Kerouac thought of as The Duluoz Legend.

Kerouac was thirty-five years old when On the Road was published in 1957. The media response was unrelenting, and he was besieged with questions about the lifestyle he had described in his novel. Kerouac was never able to convince his critics that the Beat Generation was "basically a religious generation," and that the specific object of their quest was spiritual. And unfortunately, he never managed to gather all his autobiographical novels together in a uniform binding published with the names of the "real life" people returned to them. He died from abdominal hemorrhaging brought on by his alcoholism on October 21, 1969 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he had gone to live a year before with his third wife and invalid mother.

Author Kerouac, Jack
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 293 pp.
Publisher Penguin Books 1999
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