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Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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On the Road Paperback – Dec 28 1976

4.1 out of 5 stars 502 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (Dec 28 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140042598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140042597
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 502 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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 fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Kerouac get the whole beautiful, groovy deal with this new recording of the radically hip novel that many consider the heart of the Beat movement. Poetic, open and raw, Kerouac's prose lays out a cross-country adventure as experienced by Sal Paradise, an autobiographical character. A writer holed up in a room at his aunt's house, Paradise gets inspired by Dean Moriarty (a character based on Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady) to hit the road and see America. From the moment he gets on the seven train out of New York City, he takes the reader through the highs and lows of hitchhiking, bonding with fellow explorers and opting for beer before food. First published in 1957, Kerouac's perennially hot story continues to express the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. The tale is only improved by Dillon's well-paced, articulate reading as he voices the flow of images and graveled reality of Paradise's search for the edge.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

This was my first introduction to Jack Kerouac. I found this book to be fantastic! For those like me who have heard of Kerouac and "On The Road" but really do not know what it is about I will provide a brief synopsis without giving too much away. It is the story of Sal Paradise (substitute for Kerouac) and his friend, Dean Moriarty (modeled on Kerouac's friend) and their late 1940s cross country searches for "it", music, sex, liquor...life, as they know it.

Those who have read my other reviews may be surprised at my gushing praise for this classic of the Beat Generation. The life style described in this book is, in my opinion, utterly disgusting. What makes this book great, to my taste, is the writing style. It is a fast paced, stream of consciousness description of totally irresponsible, hedonistic behavior. I would not recommend this life style to anyone but I do recommend the book to any fan of great writing with the maturity to avoid the siren call to take to the road.
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By JR on June 10 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure whether I'm reading truth or fiction. The feeling of being out on the road is intense and personal. The writing is absorbing and complex. Dean and the gang celebrate life with no restrictions and just can't wait to get out there to experience experience. The travels across America reveal the urgency of youth to find "something." Everything is laid bare and open and is held together by a lust for jazz and good times. Too bad life couldn't continue on like this forever. Money or jobs are not the concern. The need to be traveling, to drink in the land and women is what is important. It's the story of sex, drugs and rock and roll before they were invented. Jack is my hero for keeping alive the quest for love, truth and adventure, no matter how old you are.
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By A Customer on Sept. 8 2003
Format: Paperback
First, let me say that I read just the first 10 chapters -- about one-fifth -- of this book. So if there is something spectacular in the remainder, I'm sorry, I missed it. But judging from what I read, I saw no reason to go on.

"On the Road" is a rambling series of disjointed episodes as the protagonist, Sal, travels across the country by bus and by hitchhiking. While Sal keeps moving, the story has little direction.

The fragmented nature of the book could be forgiven if the individual parts were interesting, but few are. I did enjoy the image of Sal and other hitchhikers clinging to a flatbed truck as it speeds across the plains, but that's about it. Sal's conversations with fellow hitchhikers and motorists who give him rides are brief and inconsequential. His time with friends, drinking beer and whiskey and pursuing women, are mostly juvenile and pointless.

Worst of all, Sal and the other central characters are only barely likeable, so the reader has little reason to care about them.

I embarassingly admit that I read this book thinking that it was nonfiction. Only once I put it down did I see that it is fiction. But this confounds me even more. When I believed it to be a true account, I could somewhat accept the uneven story -- after all, life is uneven. But now that I know this is fiction, I am puzzled: Why would Jack Kerouac include so many scenes and characters that offer so little to the reader?
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Format: Paperback
On the Road captures Americana in a stronger and more vivid fashion than John Steinbeck did The Grapes of Wrath. On the Road covers the same route (and more) but doesn't water down the regional flavors with allegory. Instead American from New York to California and all parts in between is shown for its good, bad, rich, poor, and various ethnicities with humor and honesty.
Through Sal's numerous transcontental road trips, Kerouac describes the regional beauty, kirks, culture and geography of every city and state the protagonist passes through. Of the cities I've either lived in or visited that are visited in this book I enjoyed the most--especially his numerous pilgrimages to San Francisco. His first entry into San Francisco is classic: "Over the Oakland Bay Bridge I slept soundly for the first time since Denver; so that I was rudely jolted in the bus station at Market and Fourth... and there she was, Frisco - long, bleak streets with trolle wires all shrouded in fog and whiteness... . Weird bums (Mission and Third) asked me for dimes in the dawn..." This opening paragraph to San Francisco is still apt, if not, perfect.
While the book is an icon of the Beat generation and Sal, the narrator, desires to be among that set, he's abmismal at it. Throughout the book he worships his friend Dean who is the wildly cool womanizing, debauched, drug addicted man Sal wants to be but Sal just can't manage to follow in Dean's footsteps. Whereas Dean will drive over 100 mph, steal cars and delight in getting drunk, Sal will either drive the speed limit or hide in the back when Dean is driving, try to return Dean's joy ridden cars, or want to sleep off the booze he's drunk when around Dean.
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