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Lonesome Traveler (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Aug 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (3 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141184906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141184906
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Back Cover

In this restless, exciting book, Jack Kerouac covers the Los Angeles waterfront, Mexico, New York, Paris and London. He reveals a way of life – the life of the road – and presents his unique philosophy of self-fulfilment. A key Kerouac work, 'Lonesome Traveler' is one of the books that made him the prophet and chronicler of an entire generation.

"Railroad work, sea-work, mysticism, mountain work, solipsism, self-indulgence, bullfights, drugs, churches, streets of cities, a mishmash of life as lived by an independent educated penniless rake going anywhere: 'Lonesome Traveler's' scope and purpose is simply poetry, or natural description."
JACK KEROUAC

"Kerouac's strange mixture of wit, high spirits, incoherence, nobility and odd-ball individualism produces some piquant writing, the best part of its flavour being that peculiarly American strain, the craving for greatness, the hunt for the big experience, a touch of Hemingway and Whitman."
GUARDIAN

"Kerouac has the essentially American gift of describing the physical world so intensely, so poetically, that one sees, hears and feels. 'Lonesome Traveler' is full of startling and beautiful things."
SUNDAY TIMES

"We can be grateful for this reminder of the sense of loss itself, this search for innocence, this prose of observed detail, of high childish delight, of peace and joy and the hymns to the flux and flow and endless diversity of human life"
TLS

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

About the Author

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. His most famous novels are On the Road, 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.


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Great read.
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Format: Paperback
Kerouac's "Lonesome Traveler" (1960)is a collection of eight travel essays, several of which had been published earlier. Kerouac offers insights into the collection in his introduction. He states that he "always considered writing my duty on earth. Also the preachment of universal kindness, which hysterical critics have failed to notice beneath frenetic activity of my true-story novels about the 'beat'generation. -- Am actually not 'beat' but strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic." The essays in "Lonesome Traveler" support Kerouac's comments about his work, which has frequently been misinterpreted or sensationalized. The subject of the collection Kerouac aptly describes as "railroad work, sea work, mysticism, mountain work, lasciviousness, solepsism, self-indulgence, bullfights, drugs, churches, art museums, streets of cities, a mishmosh of life as lived by an independent educated penniless rake going nowhere."

I read much of this book sitting alone in a park on a Saturday afternoon, and it was a fitting companion to my own reflections. There is an intimacy of tone in Kerouac's book that made me feel at times that I was with him and sharing his experiences. Kerouac's spontaneous prose, with its long, strangly, and rhhythmic sentences is an erratic instrument indeed. But when it works, it is moving.

There is a continuity in these essays as Kerouac takes his reader back and forth across the United States, to Mexico, and to North Africa and Europe. Kerouac's vision tends to be highly particularized and specific. He is at his best in describing a lonely room in a San Francisco apartment, a night walk on a pier awaiting a ship, and evening's drinking with a friend and, especially, the sights and places of 'beat' New York City.
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By Tsun on 25 April 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a really good book. From working the railroad, to being a fire watcher, to Kerouac's mourning of the lost gentleman hobo culture of the US. This is Jack at his most self indulgent in parts, and most poetic in others. This is one of the lesser known novels but dosn't deserve to be. Pick this one up.
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Jack's not for everyone but reading Lonesome Traveler I was teleported right into his shoes-- if you're familiar with Kerouac you know this is his style. His "I" is the one you're with but this "I" is really experiencing every moment-- the minor details of being a train brakeman for instance-- doesn't sound glamorous but it breathes life. It's a bit claustrophobic and frusturasting with his page long sentences but if you forget all the rules of writing and literature you'll surf through a day with him and it's real even if his stories aren't.
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Lonesome Traveler is a fascinating collection of short stories from the typewriter of beat visionary Jack Kerouac, who’s well-known for his spontaneous prose and his unique writing style. Lonesome Traveler contains more of the same, only this time it’s drawn mostly from his notebooks and diaries.

In fact, this is a rare example of a book in which he uses the real names of his associates, rather than their pseudonyms – perhaps it’s because he focuses on his travels, and there’s little here that could incriminate them in a court of law. Nevertheless, it’s very much worth a read.

You’ll find out about his trips on ships, his strolls through New York, a visit to England and even the time he spent fire-watching on Desolation Peak in Washington State. Each book that he released just got better and better.
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By A Customer on 18 Sept. 1997
Format: Paperback
Though it has been a while since I have read this book, I found it distressing that there were no reviews of it in this area.
I know very many of you love Kerouac's works and styles, so I hope that this book will be given it's due attention. Its contents are five short stories or sketches that move around the central theme of travel. A sketch about the "railroad earth" written in spontaneous style is quite riveting, and here you will have a chance to read what seems to be an early sketch of the fire tower section from "Dharma Bums".
I hope these suggestions will have you picking up a copy of this wonderful book.
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I read "Lonesome Traveler" straight after reading "On The Road". Of course it would be foolish to expect every book to be of equal merit but, I must tell you, this book isn't as good as it's famous brother. I felt some parts were extremely cumbersome- self-indulgent even. However, Kerouac is undoubtedly a talented writer, so many of the tales are superb. I especially recommend the mountain-top chapter which seems to tie in with another quality Kerouac work "Dharma Bums". In conclusion then, if you didn't enjoy "On the Road", don't read this. If you did however, and are willing to put up with a little trying reading, this book may just be your cup of tea.
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This book has been dismissed by many as overly sentimental and trie, but for me it still has power. Kerouac's description of Mexico in particular is very evocative, as is his account of being a firespotter in the USA. Warm and moving, it's just the right size to fit in my rucksack!
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