Synopses & Reviews
In its time Jack Kerouac's masterpiece was the bible of the Beat Generation, the essential prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg's Howl
. While it stunned the public and literary establishment when it was published in 1957, it is now recognized as an American classic. With On the Road
, Kerouac discovered his voice and his true subject—the search for a place as an outsider in America.
On the Road swings to the rhythms of fifties underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns, and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveler and mystic, the living epitome of Beat.
"Life is great, and few can put the zest and wonder and sadness and humor of it on paper more interestingly than Kerouac."
—Luther Nichols, San Francisco Examiner
"Just as, more than any other novel of the Twenties, The Sun Also Rises came to be regarded as the testament of the Lost Generation, so it seems certain that On the Road will come to be known as that of the Beat Generation."
—Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times
"The most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat.'" The New York Times
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.
Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
The classic novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation
Inspired by Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, 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.
"An authentic work of art . . . 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."
--Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times
"On the Road has the kind of drive that blasts through to a large public. . . . What makes the novel really important, what gives it that drive is a genuine new, engaging and exciting prose style. . . . What keeps the book going is the power and beauty of the writing."
--Kenneth Rexroth, San Francisco Chronicle
"One of the finest novels of recent years. . . a highly euphoric and intensely readable story about a group of wandering young hedonists who cross the country in endless search of kicks."
--Leonard Feather, Downbeat
The indisputable bible of the Beat Generation, "On the Road" (1957) fictionalizes Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend, Neal Cassidy.
About the Author
Jack Kerouac's (1922-1969) On the Road was published in 1957, six years after its completion. It went on to become a bestseller and is considered the quintessential statement of the 1950's literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac did stints at Columbia University, in the Navy and in the Merchant Marine before meeting Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady, who would influence the rest of his life and his writing. Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of forty-seven.