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As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacré-Coeur – Kerouac reveals the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment.


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As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacré-Coeur – Kerouac reveals the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment.

30 review for Lonesome Traveler

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    Some of the final sections of Lonesome Traveler are really worth reading. New York Scenes, Alone on a Mountaintop and the Vanishing American Hobo provide interesting insight on Kerouac and the beat writers. I think this is another work Kerouac finished at breakneck speed and refused to edit. It is uneven, but definitely has gems as well!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim Leckband

    Forget On the Road, this is the book to read of Kerouac. "On the Road" is fine, but is hampered by Kerouac's thinly disguised hankering after Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady in real life). If Kerouac would have wrote about that elephant in the room it would have been a better book. The whole book I was going "Hey, Sal, the guys a sociopath, get over it!". In any case, those problems aren't in this collection of essays on the traveling life Kerouac had in the late 40's and 50's. Thank God he is loneso Forget On the Road, this is the book to read of Kerouac. "On the Road" is fine, but is hampered by Kerouac's thinly disguised hankering after Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady in real life). If Kerouac would have wrote about that elephant in the room it would have been a better book. The whole book I was going "Hey, Sal, the guys a sociopath, get over it!". In any case, those problems aren't in this collection of essays on the traveling life Kerouac had in the late 40's and 50's. Thank God he is lonesome for the most part so we don't have read his obsessions with Cassady or a Mexican whore. Rather we get the beat prose on being a hobo, a railman, a solitary guy in a fire lookout, a traveler in Morocco and Europe. There really is no other prose writer like this, and you kinda forgive him for the outrageousness because the rhythms and images just come one after another in a gushing torrent!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Appleton

    25th book of 2020. Continuing my lovely wonderful Kerouac binge. I wrote my Big Sur review in a Kerouac style, or tried, but I won't do that again; I have some thoughts on this one, and want to partly relate it to some of his other works that I've read. At first, this one didn't interest me much. Kerouac gives us eight parts in different places, so it's a little like short stories, rather than one period of his life like his other novels. The first four parts (Named: Piers of the Homeless Night, 25th book of 2020. Continuing my lovely wonderful Kerouac binge. I wrote my Big Sur review in a Kerouac style, or tried, but I won't do that again; I have some thoughts on this one, and want to partly relate it to some of his other works that I've read. At first, this one didn't interest me much. Kerouac gives us eight parts in different places, so it's a little like short stories, rather than one period of his life like his other novels. The first four parts (Named: Piers of the Homeless Night, Mexico Fellaheen, The Railroad Earth, Slobs of the Kitchen Sea) are definitely in the spirit and voice of a younger, On the Road, like Kerouac - rambling, swearing, a bit over-the-top maybe. I compare it to the bull-fighting bravado version of Hemingway compared to the mythic beauty of Old Man and the Sea Hemingway; I don't mean to compare them as men, but simply as the contrast of their voices throughout their lives. From what I've read of Kerouac so far, his On the Road voice is young, ambitious, but also a little too far, then it matures slightly in The Dharma Bums but remains young, hopeful, full of life and joy for the world... before the Big Sur period; Kerouac becomes sensitive, self-aware, still in awe of the beauty of the world but reflective of it, the beauty, compared to the pain he feels. And then in the end Satori in Paris, his ruin, I suppose, the drink victorious. I digress. The second half of this book, Lonesome Traveller, (reminding myself what I'm meant to be talking about) is far better. New York Scenes, Alone on a Mountaintop, Big Trip to Europe, The Vanishing American Hobo. His scenes of New York is mostly a painting the beatniks, what they did, where they ate and drank, it's not bad, not great. Being alone on the mountaintop is returning to his time as a fire warden again, which he talks of in other books, namely, that's where The Dharma Bums ends; it is not repetitive though, though I could read about Kerouac on top of a mountain with his thoughts for the rest of my life; I underlined mostly in this part. No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. - Learning for instance, to eat when he's hungry and sleep when he's sleepy. Or this wonderful, cryptic quote, the best kind from Kerouac, that fill you up with beauty for the world: Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realise 'The stars are words' and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words, and so is this world too. And I realise that no matter where I am, whether in a little room full of thought, or in this endless universe of stars and mountains, it's all in my mind. There's no need for solitude. So love life for what it is, and form no preconceptions whatever in your mind. His trip to Europe has a little bit with him and writer William S. Burroughs, which I always find interesting when writers talk about other writers, a perfect example being Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. He then travels France and London. He describes Paris well. I read Satori in Paris in Paris at the end of last year and was disappointed; Kerouac rarely delved into Paris, the roads and the sights, so I could see them as he did; he was mostly drunk in bars, this being at the end of his career. However, here, he walks down the Boulevard St-Germain as I did several months ago, he wanders the Louvre... For Paris, it's a better and more detailed read. At the end of the chapter he is mistaken for a bum and almost misses his train, getting tangled up with some authorities, and desperately tries to prove himself as an American writer. They ring the publishing office but no one answers as it's a Saturday. Finally, in his bag, he finds something about him and Miller and they realise who he is. In London he borrows a fiver off his agent there. And finally, for I've nearly finished talking, his last chapter is an oddly insightful look into the 'hobo' and the disintegration of it in the modern world. This partly comes up in later work, in the beginning of Big Sur he notes how hitchhiking is hardly possible anymore, cars are full with families and no one wants some bum off the road, unlike how it was in the 50s, during his On the Road days with Neal Cassady. It's very applicable now, even. There's something strange going on, you cant even be alone any more in the primitive wilderness ('primitive areas' so-called), there's always a helicopter comes and snoops around, you need camouflage; it makes me feel glad Kerouac wasn't born in this generation, poor free spirit, there's no freedom now, Jackie. Some police stop him as he's wandering on a beach and ask him what he's doing. I'll finish with their exchange - further presenting the beauty of old Mr Kerouac, sorely missed, though I never met him. 'Where you goin'?' 'Sleep.' 'Sleep where?' 'On the sand.' 'Why?' 'Got my sleeping bag.' 'Why?' 'Studyin' the great outdoors.' 'Who are you? Let's see your identification.' 'I just spent a summer with the Forest Service.' 'Did you get paid?' 'Yeah.' 'Then why don't you go to a hotel?' 'I like it better outdoors and it's free.' 'Why?' 'Because I'm studying hobo.'

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    I wanted to like it but.... sloppy writing. Didn't finish it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I started reading this on the US election day. It seemed appropriate somehow. This book was a little odd in that it was re-telling stories he'd covered in other novels, but I really enjoyed the way he told them in this. It was definitely some of his more beautiful prose, in particular the first story about meeting his friend. It was one of those great Kerouac descriptions were nothing much happens except two people bum around a bit, and it's simply engrossing. I also really enjoyed his descripti I started reading this on the US election day. It seemed appropriate somehow. This book was a little odd in that it was re-telling stories he'd covered in other novels, but I really enjoyed the way he told them in this. It was definitely some of his more beautiful prose, in particular the first story about meeting his friend. It was one of those great Kerouac descriptions were nothing much happens except two people bum around a bit, and it's simply engrossing. I also really enjoyed his description of Morocco and Paris. The other characters in this book were only fleeting glimpses, Burroughs turned up twice but only as a shadow. There was also a lot of descriptions of the cheap food he was able to find, and how even when he didn't need to he still tried to live as cheaply as possible (something I identify with). It was another fascinating read. I feel like I'm getting close to having read everything he's written in a year. I think I may hold off on the last few books for awhile as I don't want the journey to be over yet. There was one gorgeously cynical description that I really loved. "Ah America, so big, so sad, so black, you're like the leafs of a dry summer that go crinkly ere August found its end, you're hopeless, everyone you look on you, there's nothing but the dry drear hopelessness, the knowledge of impending death, the suffering of the present life..."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, once Jack started writing about working on trains, you could really feel his love for trains and I was able to get into the story then. This is a collection of stories from Jack's travels, featuring America, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London. I was looking forward to reading about his time in Europe, I wanted to compare his experience to Henry Miller and George Orwell, but it was very different, it was all very spiritual for him, all those o It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, once Jack started writing about working on trains, you could really feel his love for trains and I was able to get into the story then. This is a collection of stories from Jack's travels, featuring America, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London. I was looking forward to reading about his time in Europe, I wanted to compare his experience to Henry Miller and George Orwell, but it was very different, it was all very spiritual for him, all those old churches and old paintings. One of the chapters is about his experiences as a fire watcher on mount desolation, which happens at the end of the Dharma Bums novel. It was really interesting to revisit this experience. The book is written in his usual stream of consciousness style so I would avoid the book if you didn't like on the road.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    I think I expected this to be like Orwell's down & out in Paris & London, which it was in part. The first half of the book is really repeatative and boring. Reading about one train was enough for me but there was the odd beauty of a sentence that pushed me on. This is really short but has taken me a little while probably due to the first half. The second half was exactly what I wanted! I have a total literary crush on Jack and I love to read the romance he sees in the everyday. His travels were I think I expected this to be like Orwell's down & out in Paris & London, which it was in part. The first half of the book is really repeatative and boring. Reading about one train was enough for me but there was the odd beauty of a sentence that pushed me on. This is really short but has taken me a little while probably due to the first half. The second half was exactly what I wanted! I have a total literary crush on Jack and I love to read the romance he sees in the everyday. His travels were great to read about and I can't wait to read some more of his stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    A lot of this was pretty redundant, given the autobiographical nature of his fiction, but it was still a nice little window into the stories behind the stories.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David A Johnson

    This is a bunch of short-ish pieces put together by the common theme of Kerouac being alone and going all everywhere. It's my favorite thing of his I've read yet, and it's mainly because it's easier for me to take him in small doses than large. I don't consider myself to have a short attention span, but reading him, often I'll start to turn to go to the next page then realize my brain has been off on something else while my eyes scanned the words. Reading (quietly) out loud helped a lot to keep fo This is a bunch of short-ish pieces put together by the common theme of Kerouac being alone and going all everywhere. It's my favorite thing of his I've read yet, and it's mainly because it's easier for me to take him in small doses than large. I don't consider myself to have a short attention span, but reading him, often I'll start to turn to go to the next page then realize my brain has been off on something else while my eyes scanned the words. Reading (quietly) out loud helped a lot to keep focused on those winding sentences that last 500 words or so, and also help appreciate the auditory lyricism of his prose writing, if that makes sense. 'Mexico Fellaheen' and the bullfight was probably the best single scene to read, while 'The Railroad Earth' had a lot of difficult, well, boring parts until he's actually on the train and traveling; then it's magnificent. 'Alone on a Mountaintop' was like a much more condensed 'Desolation Angels' telling a related, but different story to what's in the full, book version. I admit to preferring this version and it's Catholic-Buddhist conclusion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matthew White

    A continuation of the conversationalist and sensationalist style that we know. Kerouac's elongated sentences, unorthodox usage of grammar and atypical writing methods is as cumbersome here as it ever was. There's no sense faulting his manipulation of the senses through the written word, but the stories herein are presumably much better heard in the midst of a smoky, whiskey-soaked beat poetry bar, somewhere in the caverns of New York.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Pretty likable collection of short pieces written by Ti-Jean chronicling his railroading man days, jazz parties guzzling dago red piss and more mountaintop madness. Most of it rocks and his stream of consciousness style which rules this book keeps the action fresh and frisky.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Col

    Quite possibly the worst book I read in 2012. At some point, I stuck pins in my eyes and poured bleach into my ears, just so I could experience a different sort of pain. How thankful I am that I don't have any more Kerouac on my shelves

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    You can read the review here: http://embracingmybooks.blogspot.be/2... You can read the review here: http://embracingmybooks.blogspot.be/2...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    What a great book to find in the hostel where I am staying. It certainly reveals the man under the myth,and what stands out for me is his integrity and fearless spirit.From the introduction he gives quite a different picture than critics and most fans derive: Always considered writing my duty on earth.Also the preachment of universal kindness which hysterical critics have failed to notice...Am actually not ´beat´but strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic.... Well well well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    I've read enough Kerouac at this juncture to feel pretty qualified to make broad statements about his work. Its quality is hugely variable, ranging from gripping, energetic, original prose to truly dreadful and self-indulgent dreck. I put this one squarely in the good camp, not too far from his masterwork On the Road. In Lonesome Traveler, we're Kerouac's companion as he bounces around corners of America and the world. The book is broken out into sections based on geography, keeping them relativ I've read enough Kerouac at this juncture to feel pretty qualified to make broad statements about his work. Its quality is hugely variable, ranging from gripping, energetic, original prose to truly dreadful and self-indulgent dreck. I put this one squarely in the good camp, not too far from his masterwork On the Road. In Lonesome Traveler, we're Kerouac's companion as he bounces around corners of America and the world. The book is broken out into sections based on geography, keeping them relatively short and keeping Kerouac mostly focused on this subject, rather than going off the rails. We are with him working as a trainman, we're with him for a long lonely summer watching for fires from an isolated forest service station, we're with him bumming around Paris. You know the spirit of these books if you've read much Kerouac. He's always interested in involving himself with the adventures of the people he meets on the way, and (when he is at his best) he writes with seemingly effortless zen beauty about how it feels to walk through the big empty spaces of America and the fleeting connections we make to each other.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tito Quiling, Jr.

    I'm still at a point where I don't think I will be tired of reading any Kerouac book soon because of this strong connection to his writings -- about the uncertainties in life and the need to move. Lonesome Traveler is a compilation of narratives that has one common theme: travel. Although others have stated that Kerouac's dependence on his mother and at times, his aunt for financial support as he was writing his novels is less than commendable, I find his persistence in continuing to move quite I'm still at a point where I don't think I will be tired of reading any Kerouac book soon because of this strong connection to his writings -- about the uncertainties in life and the need to move. Lonesome Traveler is a compilation of narratives that has one common theme: travel. Although others have stated that Kerouac's dependence on his mother and at times, his aunt for financial support as he was writing his novels is less than commendable, I find his persistence in continuing to move quite inspiring. I may not be the type who would be doing railroad work at this time, or hitchike for that matter, but the drive to keep on going, to find more things and what we can do with life is a great deal to carry. Among the essays included in this collection, my favorite one would have to be "Alone on a Mountaintop". This piece is all about finding solitude, and what better location to achieve this than up in the mountains? I see this work is a salute to Henry David Thoreau whose penchant for nature and being surrounded with green all around gave him peace and satisfaction. For me, being inside the Diliman campus somehow provides me that sense of peace, that solitude that he was describing. There is variety in the way Kerouac presented the theme, from cities to railroads, to people and places, even the earth and the sea. Perhaps traveling and writing go perfectly hand in hand because both areas are solitary pursuits, and loneliness is a feature that comes and goes as one goes through all these experiences.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Good

    This was an interesting read, but only recommended for those deeply interested in the beats. What I liked about it, is it is a very intimate chronicle without any fictive veils on how Kerouac lived his life, and received the world around him. At it's worst it was written in the style of a less gruesome Burroughs novel. My favorite times were the passages where Kerouac spends a summer in solitude, working for the US Forestry service, and subsequently travels to Europe. "God is in all things that This was an interesting read, but only recommended for those deeply interested in the beats. What I liked about it, is it is a very intimate chronicle without any fictive veils on how Kerouac lived his life, and received the world around him. At it's worst it was written in the style of a less gruesome Burroughs novel. My favorite times were the passages where Kerouac spends a summer in solitude, working for the US Forestry service, and subsequently travels to Europe. "God is in all things that move, and God is in all things that do not move." But in general, I'm happy to have finished it and am now able to move onto the next one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Loigu

    Not quite sure how to rate a story collection which is comprised of 1/3 dull, 1/3 okay-ish and 1/3 of outstanding narratives. With the dull ones Kerouac doesn't really get anywhere and e.g. "The Railroad Earth" is, well, completely devoid of his energetic style of writing. With the okayish ones - "Slobs of the Kitchen Sea" - the tempo is apparent, and the mood the most approachable beatnik creates is characteristic enough. Yet these pieces are still lacking the flow readers get from On the Road, Not quite sure how to rate a story collection which is comprised of 1/3 dull, 1/3 okay-ish and 1/3 of outstanding narratives. With the dull ones Kerouac doesn't really get anywhere and e.g. "The Railroad Earth" is, well, completely devoid of his energetic style of writing. With the okayish ones - "Slobs of the Kitchen Sea" - the tempo is apparent, and the mood the most approachable beatnik creates is characteristic enough. Yet these pieces are still lacking the flow readers get from On the Road, or, from my personal favorite, The Dharma Bums. But then it is the final third of the stories (and I don't mean that the quality-in-thirds is chronological, mind you) in Lonesome Traveler, namely "New York Scenes" and "Alone on a Mountaintop" which combine the Kerouac "trademarks": witty and insightful descriptions of the locale and playful dialogue mixed with contemplation on the human condition (in Zen Buddhist style, as appropriate for Kerouac). - Therefore, I guess, a 3,75/5? As if I had already little slashes and commas in this rating equation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rand Rhody

    PRO: The sketches in this memoir show K to be an observant writer, using poetic language that doesn’t make for a relaxing straight-through read but does make for a great study in descriptive exposition for would-be writers. Far from stream-of-consciousness or spontaneous prose, these well-chosen words are carefully worked out. CON: In the final analysis there is no So What. For all his reputation of seeking, there is no transcendence or even greater understanding transmitted to us. His is a case PRO: The sketches in this memoir show K to be an observant writer, using poetic language that doesn’t make for a relaxing straight-through read but does make for a great study in descriptive exposition for would-be writers. Far from stream-of-consciousness or spontaneous prose, these well-chosen words are carefully worked out. CON: In the final analysis there is no So What. For all his reputation of seeking, there is no transcendence or even greater understanding transmitted to us. His is a case of white privilege gone slumming with no need to struggle. Holding temporary jobs was a hobby, not a necessity, and after a coddled childhood and advantaged education, whenever things got rough he went home to live with Mom throughout adulthood.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Highton

    Autobiographical pictures from Kerouac's travels, written in his inimitable natural style

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Eastman

    A good book but not one of Kerouac´s best. I enjoyed the writing style and flow tho. All in all a good book but not a must-read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    izabella

    Great book. As a Lonesome Traveller myself... this brought back memories

  23. 4 out of 5

    Max Huang

    Read this on a fancy cruise like a fucking phony

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Clacy

    Overall, I'm giving this book two stars as the first 100 pages of travel stories weren't that great. But the author's introduction and the final three chapters 'Alone on a mountaintop', 'Big trip to Europe' and 'The vanishing American hobo' were well worth a read. Because of those last few chapters, you could probably push this to a three, but I'm sticking to two because, as I said, overall it wasn't that good.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I'm giving this book 4 stars for the last part, The Vanishing American Hobo. In this, Kerouac is not really lamenting the lost hobo life or glamorizing it. He's depicting it as both a loss of freedom and as a life that is full of sorrow and lonliness. His descriptions of hobo life in the wilderness as somewhat romantic, and hobo life in the city, especially NY, as lonely and dangerous. He poignantly writes about the way society, while becoming more suburban and prosperous in the 1950's, is much I'm giving this book 4 stars for the last part, The Vanishing American Hobo. In this, Kerouac is not really lamenting the lost hobo life or glamorizing it. He's depicting it as both a loss of freedom and as a life that is full of sorrow and lonliness. His descriptions of hobo life in the wilderness as somewhat romantic, and hobo life in the city, especially NY, as lonely and dangerous. He poignantly writes about the way society, while becoming more suburban and prosperous in the 1950's, is much less tolerant of hobos. He describes this in such stark and realistic prose that is heartbreaking. I read this "chapter" twice, it was that moving. I also gave it 4 stars for "Railroad Earth", as I was careening down to San Jose on a train with Kerouac. A harrowing ride- I love him at his best because I am right there on that train with him- the gritty, grinding moving train with the scenery whizzing by. I love old trains, and if you can't ride one but you love them too, read this. I also enjoyed the trip to Mexico, funny and interesting, and Tanjiers. In London when he cried in St. Pauls cathedral. In these chapters it was fun to roam around with him, but Railroad Earth and The Vanishing American Hobo made this book a very worthwhile read

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zeinab Tajouri

    " When you realize that God is Everything you know that you’ve got to, love everything no matter how bad it is, in the ultimate sense it was neither good nor bad (consider the dust), it was just what was, that is, what was made to appear.— Some kind of drama to teach something to something, some “despised substance of divinest show.” "Love life for what it is, and form no preconceptions whatever in your mind." The writing was so smooth and fast paced I couldn't stop myself reading even though the " When you realize that God is Everything you know that you’ve got to, love everything no matter how bad it is, in the ultimate sense it was neither good nor bad (consider the dust), it was just what was, that is, what was made to appear.— Some kind of drama to teach something to something, some “despised substance of divinest show.” "Love life for what it is, and form no preconceptions whatever in your mind." The writing was so smooth and fast paced I couldn't stop myself reading even though the first parts weren't interesting, It's after the (New Yourk Scenes) part that it really got me, a picture was formed inside my head of all the places he went to, all the people he had met and the feeling he had felt was the sentimental touch on this picture, and for the part (Alone On A Mountaintop) No words can hold anymore truth and wisdom to me, and it is what I always look for in books, the sensibility in whatever we experience. I like the Lonesome Jack Kerouac, he's my literature hero.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I'd never read Kerouac before. So, when I started this book it took me a while to get the hang of his writing style. I feel as though Kerouac wrote to be read out loud - it felt a lot more natural to follow this way, and it reinforced the theatricality of some of the characters he met on his travels. Best sections for me, came on wards from 'Slobs of the Kitchen Sea'. I loved 'New York Scenes', the buzz of the city's night-life truly came alive here, and I could easily imagine being with Jack in I'd never read Kerouac before. So, when I started this book it took me a while to get the hang of his writing style. I feel as though Kerouac wrote to be read out loud - it felt a lot more natural to follow this way, and it reinforced the theatricality of some of the characters he met on his travels. Best sections for me, came on wards from 'Slobs of the Kitchen Sea'. I loved 'New York Scenes', the buzz of the city's night-life truly came alive here, and I could easily imagine being with Jack in those busy bars, listening to his contemporaries chatting intensely about culture. Sometimes I felt that I was cheating Kerouac a little bit as I raced through each section, following the quick pace of his writing style. His descriptions are wholly perceptive, and the language sharp. Certainly something to be savoured time and time again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Each chapter in this loose travelogue appears to be the warm up for one of Kerouac's novels. Entire passages are identical in Lonesome Traveler and the subsequent novel. However, Traveler has additional bits of each tale which either explain more about the adventures in the novel, or which are totally new adventures in themselves. In this latter case, many show a much seamier side of the hobo life, in which the traveler's life is often threatened. The final chapter of the book laments societal ch Each chapter in this loose travelogue appears to be the warm up for one of Kerouac's novels. Entire passages are identical in Lonesome Traveler and the subsequent novel. However, Traveler has additional bits of each tale which either explain more about the adventures in the novel, or which are totally new adventures in themselves. In this latter case, many show a much seamier side of the hobo life, in which the traveler's life is often threatened. The final chapter of the book laments societal changes that followed World War II. Toleration of the poor in general, and hobos in particular erodes, leading to beefed up police departments, increasing surveillance of the populace, and a general loss in individual freedom. A fitting preface to our camera-obsessed world...

  29. 5 out of 5

    J.P.

    I first read this book in the form of a crumbling first edition I was lucky to get through interlibrary loan. Most Kerouac titles were out of print back then; few libraries would loan them out. Truman Capote claimed to have invented 'reportage'---nonfiction utilizing the format of fiction. He didn't. Kerouac did---and LONESOME TRAVELER kicks the ass of any reportage Capote ever did. A major part of Kerouac's image is the globe-trotting he did. In this book, JK recounts many of the trips he took a I first read this book in the form of a crumbling first edition I was lucky to get through interlibrary loan. Most Kerouac titles were out of print back then; few libraries would loan them out. Truman Capote claimed to have invented 'reportage'---nonfiction utilizing the format of fiction. He didn't. Kerouac did---and LONESOME TRAVELER kicks the ass of any reportage Capote ever did. A major part of Kerouac's image is the globe-trotting he did. In this book, JK recounts many of the trips he took across America and around the world. He captures the poetry of the railroad and the migratory worker's ("hobo") life. If prose can be musical, these are words that sing. Fantastic writing by a fantastic writer.

  30. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Pettersson

    So often the first line of a novel establishes the whole book. That surely is the case here as well: "HERE DOWN ON DARK EARTH, before we all go to Heaven VISIONS OF AMERICA" But in this case, it is the last paragraph that practically knocks you senseless: "In evil roads behind gas tanks where murderous dogs snarl from behind wire fences cruisers suddenly leap out like getaway cars but from a crime more secret, more baneful than words can tell. The woods are full of wardens." That and the beatific st So often the first line of a novel establishes the whole book. That surely is the case here as well: "HERE DOWN ON DARK EARTH, before we all go to Heaven VISIONS OF AMERICA" But in this case, it is the last paragraph that practically knocks you senseless: "In evil roads behind gas tanks where murderous dogs snarl from behind wire fences cruisers suddenly leap out like getaway cars but from a crime more secret, more baneful than words can tell. The woods are full of wardens." That and the beatific story of the Mexican Fellaheen is worth the price of admission alone. Jack, where did you go? Why did you leave us so soon?

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