No devotee of Jack Kerouac should be without this biography, fully illustrated with over 120 magnificent photographs. Kerouac epitomized the "Beat Generation" writers of the 1950s, and his most famous novel, On the Road, provided a textbook for the bohemian lifestyle that has attracted disenchanted youth ever since. Dubbed "the James Dean of the typewriter, " his own life was as colorful as his books. Featuring a foreword by Carolyn Cassady, Kerouac's lover, wife of Nell Cassady, and one of the key figures in his life, this authoritative biography presents perhaps the most judicious look at this tragic genius ever published.
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YA-Kerouac's frenzied but futile search for meaning-or at least sensation-is documented in near-voyeuristic detail in this disturbing biography. It opens with a brief history of the writer's hometown, Lowell, MA, and his working-class family. YAs follow him to prep school and then Columbia University, where he played football, took up writing, and explored the seamy side of New York before dropping out. Readers meet the many women he loved or at least made love to, including, eventually, the wife of his best friend, Neal Cassady. (She provides the book's foreword.) They learn about the chaotic, uneven creation of his literary style and works, but little about what they say. They watch as his reckless, drug-fueled trips on various roads (literal and metaphorical) become less and less purposeful. Fans of Kerouac who have seen him as a champion of freedom and spontaneity are likely to be sobered and disillusioned by this unsparing look at a talented man whose life was a rush to nowhere. Ironically, the book is beautifully produced, with full-page color reproductions of Kerouac book jackets, interesting black-and-white photographs of varying quality, and outstanding layout and graphics.
Jan Tarasovic, West Springfield High School, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Chicago Review Press, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. first edition. edition. 157 pages. 11.40x8.10x0.80 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1422351033