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On the Road: 50th Anniversary Edition | [Jack Kerouac]

On the Road: 50th Anniversary Edition

Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "beat" and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that "set them free".
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Publisher's Summary

Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "beat" and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that "set them free".

Based on Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose four cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naïveté and wild abandon, and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.

©1955, 1957 John Sampas, Literary Representative, the Estate of Stella Sampas Kerouac; John Lash, Executor of the Estate of Jan Kerouac; Nancy Bump; and Anthony M. Sampas; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (672 )
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4.3 (445 )
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  •  
    Marsha MOUNT SAVAGE, MARYLAND, United States 02-25-12
    Marsha MOUNT SAVAGE, MARYLAND, United States 02-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Will Patton Rocks"

    No one can read audiobooks as well as Will Patton. At this point, I'd listen to him read ANYTHING (yes, even the phone book.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey United States 10-13-11
    Jeffrey United States 10-13-11 Member Since 2005

    eclectacist

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    "What a wild ride!"

    I first experienced the wonder of On the Road in 1969 and deemed it "far out" (along with just about everything else!). Listening to it these many moons and schools and experiences later I found it just as mind blowing as that first read. My great joy this time was listening to Will Patton's magical interpretation. His melodious, southern-tinged voice is perfect for the ra-ta-tat-tat rhythm of Kerouac's words, pulling me into Sal's world in a way my old 17 year-old brain couldn't possibly have understood. Thanks, Will. Beautifully done.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Plano, TX, United States 08-18-11
    Elizabeth Plano, TX, United States 08-18-11
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    "A Classic"

    A classic story beautifully read by narrator Will Patton. Patton brings to life the vocal intonations that were common in the days that Kerouac lived this crazy vagabond lifestyle - bringing us to feel like we were there in those cars and buses with him and those he traveled with.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Springfield, NJ, USA 05-29-10
    Carolyn Springfield, NJ, USA 05-29-10
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    "Loved Will Patton's narration"

    This audio book was very successful in capturing the crazy life of Jack Kerouac. I loved Patton's cool way of capturing that time in his life.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick Wilton, CT, United States 11-11-08
    Nick Wilton, CT, United States 11-11-08 Member Since 2001
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    "Excellent narration - agree w/ Audi"

    Will Patton's narration perfectly captures the spirit of this emerging beat generation and this wildly exploratory group. His portrayal of Dean's frenetic nature gives the story its life and ties together the sequence of adventures with its unique 'rationality'. It is definitely not over done. In fact, without the link to the core inspiration and impulses that drove these characters the story would come off as flat and as just a jumble of wanderings.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brooklyn Osborn Florida 06-12-14
    Brooklyn Osborn Florida 06-12-14

    Brookland

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    "Great story, boring voice."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend this audiobook to everyone because it is a seriously fascinating and inspiring road trip that not many people will ever get the time to experience. Definitely exciting and intriguing.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June Steckhahn 06-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Great narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    With hesitancy. It felt to me that parts of the the story went on and on. Not so sure my time was well spent.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of On the Road?

    No particular moment stands out, but I did love Kerouac's style of writing, his ability to paint a picture, a feeling, a character, with just a few words and to just carry you along.


    Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Have not listened to Will Patton before, but based on this performance, I would be interested in more of his work. He was just perfect, I loved his voice for the role.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, not a suspenseful type of book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 04-21-14
    David 04-21-14 Listener Since 2009
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    "An anarchist's story with an actor's passion"

    I'm not sure why I skirted this icon for so long. Probably some university trauma. But I thought the 50th anniversary made it the right time to try this one on.
    And I'm glad I did.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and especially the engaging narration, though I find the protagonist, Dean, and his amoral hyperactivity eventually fatiguing -- as did Sal, the first-person character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Howell Grand Rapids, MI 03-27-14
    Brian Howell Grand Rapids, MI 03-27-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not What I Expected"

    For me, Will Patton's performance was the saving grace for this audiobook, this was not what I expected. I'd never read On The Road, but had preconceptions that the book would be filled with Beat-philosophy (whatever that would be), and romanticism of the open road. Maybe that's what I got, but I just didn't like what it all turned out to be?

    Now, who am I to say what's good and what's bad from a literary point of view? This was my first exposure to Kerouac, and I found his writing style to be an energetic randomness of pointless wandering. For me, there were moments of greatness, but they were few and far between, and the entire story felt like the original "[story] about nothing".

    I'm glad I "read" it, and Patton's performance was probably the BEST of any audiobook, but I feel like it's something I've checked off a list. Done and done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    taylor storey California/China 03-19-14
    taylor storey California/China 03-19-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Travelling Story!"

    Great book. The main character sal goes on the road to experience some life. He meets up with friends and does most parts alongside them. There is a movie version which I cannot vouch for because I fell a asleep during it. There may well be nothing wrong with the movie, I fall asleep in a lot of good movies.

    I was mildly frustrated with it the whole time I was reading (listening/reading) because it was rare that it felt like it ever made sense. I realized a little of the way through that's kind of kerouac's point--life doesn't always make sense. Life "On the Road" is a magnifying glass for the rest of our lives.

    In this life on the road, there are so many random experiences, some significant, some less so. I almost feel like I am sal's therapist. he tells me the stories and I am supposed to help him make sense of them.

    Kerouac wrote the first draft of this novel in 3 weeks. It's based on his own actual experiences, I'm not sure why he didn't call it a memoir or something more non-fiction-esque. When he originally wrote it he didn't use paragraph breaks and wrote it semi-stream of consciousness. I think this is valuable because it lends to the understanding of the book. Which ends up a bit "ramble-y". That first draft is available as well. Though the common book did go through an editing process.

    I recommend this book to those who would like to spend some time travelling, looking for some meaning. There is a lot of meaning to be found. This book shares some of that. It also very honest in sharing some of the hopelessness.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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