Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 19 February 2017
Jack Kerouac’s writing is gaunt and transparent, and this is his genius. No wasted verbs or adjectives, no necessity for alliteration, no long-drawn out explanations, Kerouac just states it as it is with no frittering of words; ‘And before me was the great raw bulge and bulk of my American continent; somewhere far across, gloomy, crazy New York was throwing up its cloud of dust and brown steam. There is something brown and holy about the East; and California is white like washlines and emptyheaded – at least that’s what I thought then’
Isn’t that magical? Kerouac writes in a stream of consciousness, giving the impression of a mind at work, bouncing from one observation or reflection to another, expressing a simple flow of speculation. It is absolutely pure and unadulterated, and when you read the lines ‘There is something brown and holy about the East’ you can’t help but feel that the author’s nailed it. He’s given a full description of New York, Detroit and Chicago in just nine words. This is such subtle and exquisite writing. Nobody could write like that nowadays. It would take three undernourished chapters for any other writer to reach the conclusion that New York is brown and holy.
Jack Kerouac’s internal monologue bleeds, leaks and oozes onto the page – and it truly was one page because typing at about 100 words per minute in an explosion of gifted energy, he found replacing regular sheets of paper in his typewriter just interrupted his flow, so On the Road was smashed out on a 120-foot-long scroll of paper stolen for him by Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty). I think the scroll can still be viewed at the University of Indiana.
‘She was a fetching hunk, a honey-coloured creature, but there was hate in her eyes.’
I love this. He’s clearly attracted to Remi’s girlfriend, Lee Ann, but knows he can’t make a move on her because Kerouac stole his first wife from Remi, and there’s only so many times you can screw a guy over. But the fact that she has hate in her eyes somehow has the effect of making Lee Ann even more attractive. The three of them row out to a rusty old freighter in San Francisco Bay, and Lee Ann takes all her clothes off and lays down to sun herself on the flying bridge with nothing to cover her modesty except hatred and venom
I liked Lee Ann.
You could write forever about Kerouac’s rare literary talent – and many people have. Where does one finish a review like this? I just don’t know. I would liken his writing to the explosion of a star, in which his luminosity increases astonishingly and most of the star's mass is blown away at high velocity, leaving behind the extremely solid and translucent core that is Jack Kerouac.