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Desolation Angels [Paperback]

Jack Kerouac
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1969

The classic retelling of Kerouac’s last big road trip.

Kerouac’s candid and definitive insider’s record of the key figures and events surrounding the Beat Generation, ‘Desolation Angels’ had gained a reputation as an underground classic long before publication in 1964. Told through the character of Kerouac’s fictional alter ego, Jack Duluoz, the novel follows the story of his last legendary road trip, accompanied by his thinly-disguised Beat counterparts, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs. From California to Mexico and on to opium-ridden Tangiers, Kerouac chronicles the frenetic parties, the drink and the drugs, the poetry and the mountain vigils with unsurpassable energy.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Frequently Bought Together

Desolation Angels + Lonesome Traveler (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; New impression edition (Dec 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0583111998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0583111997
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,655,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where, he said, he 'roamed fields and riverbanks by day and night, wrote little novels in my room, first novel written at age eleven, also kept extensive diaries and "newspapers" covering my own-invented horse-racing and baseball and football worlds' (as recorded in the novel Doctor Sax). He was educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell. He said that he 'decided to become a writer at age seventeen under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet, who later died on Anzio beach head; read the life of Jack London at eighteen and decided to also be a lonesome traveler; early literary influences Saroyan and Hemingway; later Wolfe (after I had broken leg in Freshman football at Columbia read Tom Wolfe and roamed his New York on crutches).'

Kerouac wished, however, to develop his own new prose style, which he called 'spontaneous prose.' He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat generation of the 1950s. This may clearly be seen in his most famous novel On the Road, and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven.

Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.

Product Description

Review

‘One of the most true, comic and grizzly journeys in American literature.’ Time

‘The Beats drug, hop freight trains, live on the road and contemplate Buddha. A nerve-jangling, sometimes sentimental, always sincere and funny book.’ Sunday Times

‘A beatific glow turns Ginsberg into a great poet, not a hairy rhymester selling his Vaseline jars as fake holy relics. Burroughs becomes an all-American folk hero, swinging and swaggering down the Calle Larache, rebuking his companions for walking too slow. All in a prose-poetry out of Whitman and Wolfe and Dylan Thomas.’ Observer

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Kerouac’s candid and definitive insider’s record of the key figures and events surrounding the Beat Generation, 'Desolation Angels' had gained a reputation as an underground classic long before publication in 1964. Told through the character of Kerouac’s fictional alter ego, Jack Duluoz, the novel follows the story of his last legendary road trip, accompanied by his thinly-disguised Beat counterparts, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William Burroughs. From California to Mexico and on to opium-ridden Tangiers, Kerouac chronicles the frenetic parties, the drink and the drugs, the poetry and the mountain vigils with unsurpassable energy.

“One of the most true, comic and grizzly journeys in American literature.”
TIME

“The Beats drug, hop freight trains, live on the road and contemplate Buddha. A nerve-jangling, sometimes sentimental, always sincere and funny book.”
SUNDAY TIMES

“A beatific glow turns Ginsberg into a great poet, not a hairy rhymester selling his Vaseline jars as fake holly relics. Burroughs becomes an all-American folk hero, swinging and swaggering down the Calle Larache, rebuking his companions for walking too slow. All in a prose-poetry out of Whitman and Wolfe and Dylan Thomas.”
OBSERVER

“A rip-roaring, racing torrent of words.”
IRISH TIMES

Many of Kerouac’s works are available in Flamingo, including 'Big Sur, Doctor Sax' and 'Lonesome Traveler'.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
THOSE AFTERNOONS, those lazy afternoons, when I used to sit, or lie down, on Desolation Peak, sometimes on the alpine grass, hundreds of miles of snowcovered rock all around, looming Mount Hozomeen on my north, vast snowy Jack to the south, Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kerouac's Mountain Solitude 11 May 2005
By Jim
Format:Paperback
Many will know Jack Kerouac as the author of 'On The Road' : a relentless record of his cross-country wanderings in the late 1940s. However, he published many more semi-autobiographical novels and this is one of the best.
It chronicles his time as a mountain fire-lookout in the 1950s, and describes his reflections on his solitude. Kerouac without booze and pills is the result and he tries to face up to his own life, before returning 'down to the world.'
There are some beautiful evocations of the wilderness, some heart-rending references to his inability to deal with the contents of his head, and the all-pervading presesence of Hozomeen, the mountain he faces each morning.
A must-read book for people interested in the true spirit of Kerouac, and one in the eye for people who tell you he was a one-dimensional misogynist.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A combination of Others 18 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This One kind of disappointed me, It really seemed like Kerouac was just throwing together bits from his other work and kinda lacked the originality of, say, the Dharma Bums. The first section basically goes over his time on desolation peak, as told in the Dharma Bums and again in the Lonesome Traveller, Its really getting boring the third time around. The middle section, around page 150ish to 280 i think, focuses, much like the subterraneans on the social aspect of his life in San Fransico and New York, it's nice but again lacks the excitement of similar phases in On The Road or The Dharma Bums. The last third of the book is better, detailing his trip to Mexico and then Tangiers with Burroughs, Gregory Corso and Ginsberg. Almost in the vein of the last half of the Lonesome Traveller. Overall this one seemed a tired and almost melancholy work, still good,but I'd really heard it all before.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I loved On The Road by Jack Kerouac 4 Oct 2014
By James
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved On The Road by Jack Kerouac, but I really struggled through this book. The first part, taken mostly from his journal kept whilst living in isolation as a fire look-out on Desolation Peak, was particularly bad. I persevered and found the book improved once Jack leaves the mountain. From here the book details his cross-country trip down the West coast of the United States, detailing his travels and shenanigans down to Mexico.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hit the road with Jack 27 Aug 2013
By John B
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this and other Jack Kerouac books when I was a teenager and they blew me away. As a sixty four year old, I have started to re-read them and they still blow me away. By the way, Big Sur is my favourite.
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