This is one of those novels that seemed almost like nonfiction. It is based on Kerouac’s actual journeys across America so a lot of it was probably real. The inconsistency and wildness seemed too strange to be fiction at times. I don’t know what is fact and what is fiction.
I liked Kerouac’s style early on. Sal the protagonist is observant, perceptive and largely optimistic about life. The novel is set in a time just right after the war and even with all the drug use, sex, and madness, there is a certain innocence of America in that time. It was before the Cold War became central, the 1960s, Vietnam and the turbulent decades for America’s loss of innocence.
It took me longer than read this book. I was a bit stuck one third and half way through the book because while many things do happen in the book, there isn’t a formal plot per se. It meanders with vignettes which did not make me likely to pick it up.
The use of stream of consciousness increased in the book as well. There were times when I felt things were getting worse as the book wore on. There were the same adventures over and over. Sometimes, it felt sadder by the chapter.
The end with Mexico was interesting though, and in general, I liked Kerouac’s writing. I would read his works again.
Read June 23-30 2013.
On the Road (2012)