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On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics)

On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Jack Kerouac , Ann Charters
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 8.99
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Kindle Edition 4.68  
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Product Description

Amazon Review

On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalised autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers and fellow travellers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, this cross-country bohemian odyssey not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. --Acton Lane


? A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.??Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 489 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670063266
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (21 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,368 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read but its one that stays with you 28 Nov 2011
On the Road was first published in 1957 and is a largely autobiographical account of Jack Kerouac's various road trips taken with his friends during the 1940s. All names were changed (to protect the not so innocent) and the story mostly features the characters Sal Paradise (based on Kerouac) and Dean Moriarty (based on real life person Neal Cassady) along with various other real life characters occurring throughout.

The novel overall has a fresh feel and I think this is because the idea of youth searching for more than the conformity of the society they are in is an idea which is being constantly being explored. This does not mean that the book is cliqued however as although the subject matter might not be original, the descriptions of their methods, ideas and the people they encounter is. Crossing the American continent is exhausting enough (I know, I did it) and Kerouac does not hide from the reader the exhaustion, the dirty aspects, the arguments along the way.

One of the stronger aspects of the novel are the people that Sal and Dean encounter along the way. They have various conversations with drunks, travellers, drug addicts and poor immigrant workers all of whom often add more insight than Sal and his friends can provide. The friendship between Sal and Dean is also interesting and goes through many changes throughout as they spilt then meet up again.

A lot has been said on the bad behaviour of the characters and yes they take drugs, have wild parties, visit Mexican brothels and steal cars. This might not seem so shocking now but when you consider these guys were born before my grandmother it just goes to show that despite the fact that each generation thinks they invented teenage bad behaviour, they really didn't.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapid Rush 12 Jun 2011
By Christian VINE VOICE
I can understand why this book can divide opinion on those that read, or try to read it. It tells of a life on the road, where the only pursuit is that of enjoying life. Taken in three parts it tells the tale of Sal Paradise and his travels across the country of America.

For those that have wanderlust this will take you back to the last time that you travelled enjoying the experiences on the way, as much as the destinations. And in many ways that is what the book captures best, some places flashing by and then the moments in others stretching out through the experiences that you have. The places where you achieve something that makes a difference and the places where your time just passes by.

This book is readable, though isn't the fastest starting read. Get through that and it becomes more rewarding until you are on the journey wanting to know where else it will lead. The characters flesh out as some find their own life and put down roots; and others keep chasing it on the roads.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars reads great, pity about the introductions 9 Nov 2007
By Golowy
It's so great to come back to this book and, though I've only read a little, the extra details of seeing characters names and Kerouac's own sentence rhythms bring it to life in a new way. Plus I love all the details and extra stuff that fill out formerly minor characters.

The awful thing is the introductory essays. The first is good and well researched - it just tracks the history of the various drafts. The others are so pretentious and couched in literary theory jingo - intertextuality, text, deconstruction - and so laboriously written they're surely enough for Kerouac to take a benny, exhume himself and get back on the road and as far away from civilization as possible. (Although to be fair he's pretty far away from it under the ground, but hope you get the point.)

It's very funny, very ironic, when you think he was writing in reaction to the pretentious, elitist literary world that preceded him; and here his fine book is, at its rawest, preceded by these essays. No disrespect to the writers; maybe this is what was asked for and they can write much better than this, but...

Anyway, like I say the text - I mean book - is as good as ever; maybe better.


I'd like to add as a postscript that, since finishing the book, I believe this is a must for any lover of Kerouac's writing. There is tons of additional material and scenes and, really, this book in all its more-primitive glory supersedes the 1957 published text.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live each day to the full 11 Feb 2005
This is a book that I have read many times, and each time I have loved it even more. Although the story is brilliant, this book is more about how it makes you feel whilst reading it, as well as after. It makes you want to get off of life's treadmill of work, telly, eat, sleep and to get out there and really 'live'. To make memories, stories, adventures, and to stay far from the mundane.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On The Road by Jack Kerouac 23 Nov 2011
I picked a copy of On The Road up in my comprehensive school library when I was 17. I started reading it and I literally could not put it down. I actually walked into a lamp-post reading it while I was walking home.
This wonderful book is crammed full of life, excitement, love, yearning and a delight in experiencing the new. I read it in about 1972, the tail-end of the Hippy Era and it made me realise that I had to....just like Dean and Sal...go on the road. Directly inspired by this book I spent the next few years hitchiking around the UK and Europe, experiencing everything I could.
Regard it as a manual for living. Kerouac had a tender, religious attitude to his fellow man. He was endlessly fascinated by everyone and everything around him. He also had little regard for materialism...other than a bottle of liquor, a joint or a bebop record. For Jack, experience and friendship is everything.
More than anything it is a thrilling read. Kerouac takes you with you on his epic journey of self-discovery and you will NEVER forget the ride.
Let's just hope the new movie - it it EVER appears - does justic to this sacred text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Has this now lost its relevance?
However hard I tried, I just could not connect with the main character. Just like the Seven Samourai, this may have been a revelation in its time, but I don't think it is a... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Tom in Malvern
4.0 out of 5 stars Rhythm and beat
Told in the first person from the perspective of Sal Paradise, we travel across America several times with a raggedy bunch of friends, stopping over at times in San Francisco,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Meadows
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced classic for reading slowly
This fast-paced adventure of life deserves slow and tender reading. The beauty's in the metaphors, descriptions, and the twists and turns the words take.
Published 1 month ago by Francoise de Valera James
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my bag.
Rather pretentious at times, often dull and populated by an unlikable crowd. I can see why some love it though.
Published 1 month ago by Sky Like Honey
5.0 out of 5 stars Go, Man. Go!
Kerouac, Jack. On the Road.

The ‘road novel’ is an essentially American genre and Kerouac’s is its prototype. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. D. James
2.0 out of 5 stars A slightly arduous read, surrounded by far too much hype
Considering its reputation as a life-changing must-read, I was excited to read 'On the Road' but sadly found it somewhat lacking. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lobster
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Although filled with unwitting racism and casual sexism which i found initially quite shocking, this book is a period piece worth reading for anyone interested in American history... Read more
Published 2 months ago by G. Breeze
4.0 out of 5 stars On the mark
A phenomenal read and classic writing. Jack has an eye for observational detail and had a mad life of criss crossing America, a life style any adventurer can only dream off, admire... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Willem Nel
3.0 out of 5 stars High expectations
After countless recommendations I thought I'd finally give this book a shot. My expectations were extremely high and being a keen traveller I was looking forward to getting stuck... Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. Walker
1.0 out of 5 stars iconic self indulgent and drug fuelled
There is no doubt that Kerouac can write well, even lyrically on occasions but sadly these occasions are far too rare and the result is a repetitive, alcoholic haze of a book which... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. C. J. Jones
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