Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On The Road Turns 50

Jack Kerouac's On the Road became an instant favorite of mine when I discovered it last year.
There's something romantic about the traveling hobo, drinking across the country with similarly, directionless, lost but free assholes.
But it's an aspect a relative stiff like me can't relate to -- at least not on a literal level.
If anything, it's that wanting to escape that I found most endearing, most relatable -- daring to just give it all up, and having the balls to glorify one's running away, one's denial.
It's the anti-coming-of-age, for that happy ending could never satisfy the intensity of honest but perhaps misdirected introspection -- not in this world, not in this lifetime.
From a writing standpoint, On the Road was equally rebellious.
Heavily-laden with prolonged passages of stream-of-consciousness -- "spontaneous prose" Kerouac called it -- it was the best defense of the sanctity of the first thought, which is always the most honest anyway.
My romance with the book is only a year old, but its romance with other readers around the world has now lasted 50 years.
Here's what The New York Times has to say about the book, its anniversary, and its continuing relevance.


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