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« He Misspoke! | Main | 60th Anniversary of Independence and Partition of the Indian Subcontinent »

August 14, 2007


A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to put my finger on what exactly bothered me about Kerouac's book. Now I know. It was like reading a stranger's self absorbed and not wholly interesting blog.

Nice comparison!

Yes, the blogger comparison is apt. Jack was a blogger-before-his-time. But I think Capote's famous put-down, "That's not writing, that's typing," suggests he was taken in by Jack's self-myth, that this book just gushed out of him spontaneously. Such things are impossible. For one thing, he had gotten a lot of practice writing before this book supposedly gushed out, so he was building on a lot of earlier hard work. Plus, it was based on notebooks he kept while the depicted events were transpiring. For better or worse, OTR is a work of art.

Lester, I am aware of the copious notes Kerouac took before he wrote (typed) anything. Which is why the myth around that long scroll of paper rolling out of his typewriter during one frenzied session of writing was such a hoax. I didn't even know about that at the time I read OTR but still I found Kerouac's "spontaneous" style somewhat contrived.

I am glad that you found the book more satisfying than I did. You are probably in the majority on this one. But we all have our favorite "most overrated book." For you it was Catch 22, for me it is OTR. :-)

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