On The Road – The Original Scroll

After reading the paperback version a number of times I have yesterday started to read ‘On The Road – The Original Scroll for the first time’. I am at present not really able to pinpoint each difference between this and the other version, but I was immediately reminded in the first 70 pages or so (this version obviously hasn’t got any chapters) I read, of why I fell in love with Kerouac’s books all that time ago. The spirit of movement, things happening, seeing the world, in this case mainly the US, captured my imagination immediately and made me want to head out like so many other people before me and hopefully after me too.

What I also like about his books, and I think this is often overlooked when discussing Jack Kerouac, is his fine sense of black, sarcastic or sardonic humour, mainly directed towards himself. That becomes apparent for example in his description of the false start to his big road trip which leaves him stranded just about 40 miles north  (not west) of NY, and drives him to take a bus back into the bus depot on 34th Street – after getting soaking wet. But the second, more successful attempt, starts things off much more exciting – and the description of all the places he sees and people he meets is what got me, and a lot of other people I assume interested in his work and infatuatedwith ‘On The Road’ His descriptions are always singular and highly evocative and just reading the names of towns, cities and states he passes reminded me of why I did the trip in October 2010 and about the purpose of the project this blog is about.

I had to stop reading yesterday night and the passage where he is employed as a security guard in Marin City, north of San Francisco. A job he is of course rather ill-suited to, as is the case with most other jobs he tries his hands on, apart from the ones having to do with writing. But I guess I will write about the book from here on in my next entry.


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