The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac

The other day I finally got around to reading The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac (btw, I really don’t like the picture of Kerouac on the Wiki Page).  Kerouac was possibly the first literary figure that I actually fully enjoyed and can call my own. I finally latched on to him in high school, after searching for what felt like ages but was more like months. Money being a bit hard to come by I was hesitant to just buy a book so instead I tried the school library which was a disappointing failure. It would only be later that I realized that I often spelled his name wrong and likely destroyed my own chances at success becasue of this.

But Kerouac was my first literary love (as Ginsberg was my first poet). I have devoured all of the primary work ages ago. but am just not getting around to a couple of the smaller works (I still don’t have a copies of Satori in Paris, Pic and a few others), The Subterraneans being one of them.

I found my reading engine is still in a the low gears which kept me from really ploughing through it. In the past I would have glided easily from page to page but I seem to have lost that ability over the past five years or so. I guess that’s what too much college and not enough reading does to you. Heh. But it had the same old Kerouac energy and flow. The words melted into eachother like hot glass, its final form being solid and beautiful.

It has its shorcomings, outlined in the Wiki page I linked to at the beginning of this. Kerouac does treat African Americans lightly and his love for Mardou seems to shock and nearly revile him at the beginning as he makes too much of her dark skin.

While not the best of Kerouac’s work it’s still not a bad little read. If you’ve already hit the biggies, it’s certainly not a bad read  as an extension of his other work.  Try to pick it up on the cheap, though, from a used bookstore or online. Wouldn’t drop the full$12 asking price.

 The Subterraneans at Amazon

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