Hello...my name is Josh and I'm a Beat literature addict ("HELLO JOSH"). Prior to last week, the only Kerouac novels I owned were On the Road and The Dharma Bums. I bought The Subterraneans because, after leafing through it in a local bookstore, it looked like, at the very least, an interesting and wild piece of work.
That it was, both former and latter. Kerouac wrote this book in three days and three nights on a sudden burst of inspiration, much like On the Road. The difference here is complete stream-of-consciousness...and the book reads that way. Boasting almost no indentation or seperation of speakers, what you find is masses and masses of words slapped down on the pages in an inspired fury. This asset is the book's greatest strength and weakest attribute. Commendable, yes; however, you cannot read more than thirty or so pages at a time, or you will faint with a headache.
Pick this book up; its an interesting chapter in the life of Kerouac, and an unspoken note to perfectionist writers to loosen up.