Thursday, 13 December 2012

Who Is Dean Moriarty?

"There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars."

"On The Road" is an American novel written by Jack Kerouac. I loved this book. I found the storyline fast paced and the language clever yet incredibly readable. The style of writing I really appreciated as it made it easy to dip in and out of the book, I don't have loads of spare time for reading at the moment and this is something which I require in a good read!

The theme of the story is essentially in the title, being "on the road". The protagonist Sal and his crazy friend Dean, travel all over America in search of something missing from their lives staying in one place.

I think the key quote of the book is "We know time." This simply refers to the sensation of realising mortality, realising how little time there is to do everything you want to, how Sal & Dean pack as many sensations into every day as they can, how they go about this by travelling. The book is set in post depression America. I've never been to America and it was fascinating to get a brief snapshot of each city.

Dean ends up having kids and several wives, whereas Sal looks on this with a rather detached viewpoint, and we as the reader have empathy for these women that he leaves scattered across the continent to bring up his children. He never has time for them, and pursues the endless horizon impatiently in search of new things, carelessly ignoring his dependents and instead using all his money on a car.

Jack Kerouac sums up the loneliness of life on the road succinctly in this novel, following the story firsthand from Sal's viewpoint of the ups and downs, the near misses with death, the desperate moments, the excitement, the variety of people, the unpredictability and the adventure. In one sense it makes you want to throw in everything and take off with your dreams, on the other it makes you incredibly apprehensive about all the bad parts!

Human relationships and hedonism are key themes, with "looking out for yourself in desperate situations" trumping friendship in certain cases throughout the book. It makes you think deeply about friendship and travels.

I haven't seen the film but I believe it is also a film now... However, I think the film would have to be brilliant to live up to expectation! A great read even if you have a hectic schedule, you can pick up this book in between things. Five stars.

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