ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac

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ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac

 

David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

I read ON THE ROAD as part of the David Bowie reading challenge #DBowieBooks. David Bowie was an avid reader and I am attempting to read my way through his 100 favourite books. Follow the links below to check out my reviews of the books I’ve read so far.

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

8. On the Road

 

Goodreads Synopsis

 

When Jack Kerouac’s On the Road first appeared in 1957, readers instantly felt the beat of a new literary rhythm. A fictionalised account of his own journeys across America with his friend Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s beatnik odyssey captured the soul of a generation and changed the landscape of American fiction for ever.

Influenced by Jack London and Thomas Wolfe, Kerouac always wanted to be a writer, but his true voice only emerged when he wrote about his own experiences in On the Road. Leaving a broken marriage behind him, Sal Paradise (Kerouac) joins Dean Moriarty (Cassady), a tearaway and former reform school boy, on a series of journeys that takes them from New York to San Francisco, then south to Mexico. Hitching rides and boarding buses, they enter a world of hobos and drifters, fruit-pickers and migrant families, small towns and wide horizons. Adrift from conventional society, they experience America in the raw: a place where living is hard, but ‘life is holy and every moment is precious’.

With its smoky, jazz-filled atmosphere and its restless, yearning spirit of adventure, On the Road left its mark on the culture of the late 20th century, influencing countless books, films and songs. Kerouac’s prose is remarkable both for its colloquial swing and for the pure lyricism inspired by the American landscape – ‘the backroads, the black-tar roads that curve among the mournful rivers like Susquehanna, Monongahela, old Potomac and Monocacy’. This Folio Society edition is illustrated with evocative photographs of Kerouac and the landscapes of 1950s America. Now acknowledged as a modern classic, On the Road remains a thrilling and poignant story of the road less travelled.

 

My 5 Star Review

 

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“And this was really the way that my whole road trip experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.” – ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac

 

ON THE ROAD is widely considered a classic American novel and has inspired generations of young travellers. Jack Kerouac writes autobiographically about his travel across America from east to west and then down south to Mexico with his rag tag group of beatnik friends in the late 1940s.

Kerouac tells the story of the emerging beat generation and what it means to be beat. He captures the essence of one of the first American post-war counter-cultures through a richly descriptive stream of consciousness narrative style. The way the novel is written reminds me of the crazy kind of drunk conversations you would have at around 3 am at a house party with some guy you’ve never met before. It takes some time to get into this kind of writing style because it jumps around a lot, but I think it was the perfect choice to capture these characters in this specific time and place.

I found ON THE ROAD to be such fascinating modern classic because it so perfectly captures the spirit of the time it was written in and the culture that Kerouac and the characters who inspired the novel helped to create. Post-war America is such an interesting time to me from a sociological perspective. The idea of teenagers and leisure time were first invented during this period, and advertising was also fast becoming a huge part of our lives. The beatniks that Kerouac so passionately describes were also the foundations that inspired many counter-cultures.

About the Author

 

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Neal Cassady (inspiration for Dean Moriarty character) and Jack Kerouac

 

Jack Kerouac, original name Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, (born March 12, 1922, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.—died October 21, 1969, St. Petersburg, Florida), American novelist, poet, and leader of the Beat movement whose most famous book, On the Road (1957), had broad cultural influence before it was recognized for its literary merits. On the Road captured the spirit of its time as no other work of the 20th century had since F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925).

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Book Review: Candyfloss Guitar by Stephen Marriott

Title: Candyfloss Guitar candyfloss guitar

Author: Stephen Marriott

ISBN: 1505448050

Published:   Published March 2nd 2015 by Createspace (first published August 11th 2014)

Genre:  Novella, Travel Novel, Fiction

Pages: 60

Source: I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

Diego is coasting. He has been content with living his life in a sun scorched pueblo that lies on the route of the pilgrim path: The Way of Saint James. But one stormy night, change is forced upon him when his father, Eduardo, the local candyfloss man, unexpectedly catches him entertaining a captivated crowd with flamenco guitar rhythms. At that moment, Eduardo relinquishes the hold from the ghosts of his past and realises it’s time for Diego to confront his fate. Eduardo arranges for Diego to live and work on a farm and sends him on his way with the gift of his old Spanish guitar.

Candyfloss Guitar is a story about taking the first steps on a journey towards shrouded dreams and searching for meaning.

Stephen Marriott, the soulful travel novelist, brings a subtle tenderness to this traveler’s tale that traverses the spiritual and physical worlds.

“A Gabriel Garcia Marquez-style tale of self-discovery kissed by the supernatural. Short, lovely and satisfying.” – Acclaimed spiritual fantasy author Laura K. Cowan, author of Music of Sacred Lakes & Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen

My Thoughts:

Candyfloss Guitar is a delightful novella by Stephen Marriott who is a traveler as well as a wonderful author. When Diego’s father sends him off to make his own way in the world with his trusty old guitar a series of unplanned circumstances have him decide to walk the pilgrim path, The Way of Saint James (Carmina de Santiago) rather than head off to work on his cousin’s farm as he planned. Diego’s journey becomes not just a physical one but a quest to find his destiny in life and he meets many interesting characters along the way.

The author’s descriptions of Spain are beautifully done and I can tell he holds a great love for the country and the people there. While reading Candyfloss Guitar I was very tempted to pack my bags and embark on a pilgrimage myself until I remembered how rubbish I am at  walking long distances!

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