On The Road Again
I just finished Jack Kerouac's first published novel, The Town and the City
. I thought it was fucking excellent... a book spanning 500 pages and 20 years that had characters complex and realistic enough to keep an ennui fiend like me engaged throughout. Jacko was trying for his dream, to write "The Great American Novel", and this is a pretty damn fine effort. The ideas he talks about and the way in which older generations see younger ones as being anarchic and amoral, and vice versa as out-of-touch optimistic failed gods could very easily be applied to any era. I know I'm one anarchic amoral surly mixed-up sonofabitch. The clash of friends, family and modernity, and the inescapable yearning for innocence but lust for danger wrung out from the story are universal.
The start of the book is Tom Sawyer-ish and very heartily American, gradually changing through various perspectives to a grungy Burroughs big city lament. Where more recent family epics like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
have shown a tendency to becoming very cutesy and almost gimmicky, The Town and the City
is from a time when wholesomeness and evil were not just cliches or Bushisms. I recommend it.