07.24.08

‘Lonesome Traveler’

Posted in Kerouac, On writing, Writers at 9:52 am by Marion

Today, a last post on Jack Kerouac before I break to finish reading ‘Big Sur.’ Instead of looking at that book, I wanted to spend a few words on another, often overlooked, confessional, ‘Lonesome Traveler.’

‘Traveler’ captures the endearing sentimentality that colors Kerouac’s works, a prose that’s tempered — and saved — by Kerouac’s agitated soul that’s always searching for meaning, for experience, and for a place to call home.

The book starts with his classic ‘Author’s Introduction’ — a resume of his life as a “madman bum and angel.”

Though it’s labeled a novel, the stories are pure Kerouac. The Railroad Earth captures the lonely moments waiting for work, where he was a brakeman, and the meaningful details of his simple monkish life at that time.

Alone on a Mountaintop reveals what happened on Desolation Peak, an experience in many ways like his Big Sur stay, where the peace and solitude — instead of refreshing him, drove him mad.

Big Trip to Europe is his tale of going to France to track down something of his French-Canadian heritage. It is a great companion to Satori in Paris, a later book.

TOMORROW: FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING FRIDAY

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