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Publisher's Summary

Sal Paradise, a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream.

A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion. One of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, On the Road is the book that launched the beat generation and remains the bible of that literary movement.

©1957 Jack Keourac (P)2015 Audible, Inc

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Story

Good reading of an awful story

Maybe I missed the point of this entirely and there were some beautiful thoughts and moments, some of which will stick with me but really this was just an endless dull tale.

It was really a long ramble which could end with an apologetic 'guess you had to be there' as we follow Sal (Kerouac) on his journeys frequently in search of or joined by Dean (Cassady) this, for me, was unfortunate because I could not stand Dean, he came across as terrible human being in whom Sal is completely disillusioned. I much preferred the cameos from other beats but was instead dragged along with Sal and Dean.

As I said I may be missing the point entirely but the discovery of self was really just a glorified bumming across the country avoiding any sense of responsibility and that got tiring quickly, this is the most effort I've experienced in trying to finish a book in a long long time.

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No Sunset on this Era

I have long meant to read this book but I had resisted in case it didn't live up to its legendary status. In the end, I think it was the fact that Matt Dillon was to narrate it that persuaded me to take the plunge. I now feel vindicated on two scores; first, the legend is alive and well and, secondly, Dillon was a terrific narrator.
There's no point spending too much time on the plot. The listener needs to experience it with Sal Paradise, with the words blowing through your mind like wind through your hair and the drug of sex and excitement invading your imagination like the drugs that invade Sal's system. It is the seminal "Road" tale populated with huge characters like Dean Moriarty and Marylou, his "little sharp chick", the Frenchman poet, Remi, Carlo Marx (poet and adulterer), Montana Slim and "Big Ed" Dunkel. Sal, it seems, is a metaphor for Kerouac and you can trace the rest of the characters through the many reminiscences written about this work by the characters themselves. But, in my opinion, the story is not the main thing. It's the living of it that makes it eternal. I found it a bit like looking back on a fond, but now past, phase of my life (not that my was ever as eventful as Sal's). It has that intimate feel of your own personal memories. I wrote a lot of notes about it to write this review, but most of them are just not important enough to mention, although they seemed important at the time. Again, these are like the events in the book.
Returning to Dillon, really there is not much to say. He captures the book's racy sexuality, the atmosphere of a jazz age and and a youth that was looking for something that is too elusive to capture. There were times when he brought to mind Springsteen ("Lost in the Flood", "Backstreets") and at other times Van Morrison ("Coney Island"). Musical and noisy.
I enjoyed this journey.

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On The Road: A Journey that Never Ends

What did you love best about On the Road?

Every time listen to this book I hear something new in it. Some new rhythm, some new character, some forgotten tenderness.

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

The prose is sublime, like when Paradise is creating an image in his head of Dean's drunken hobo father, "...falling down in drunken alley nights, dropping his yellowed teeth one by one into the gutters of the west,..". This is Saul Bellow and Steinbeck rolled into one irresistible rhythmic highway that rolls back and forth across a great jazz-bop, marijuana fuelled continental dream, from Long Island to Los Angelus in a country that has largely disappeared, and largely stayed the same.

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to mention.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Dean is being isolated and exposed as a fraud and a conman. One is compelled to feel for him, to forgive him, to pull his unpacked case into the car and head for the next horizon.

Any additional comments?

The narration by Matt Dillon is the finest I have heard for any book. He is obviously a fan of the book. To none-American ears sometimes American accented narration can take a bit of getting used to. Not so with Dillon, a remarkable piece of work.

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  • David
  • Coburg, Australia
  • 12-20-12

Highly recommended

Great read... go for it! Matt captures the characters brilliantly. And of course Jack K is something else.

  • Overall
  • Aaron
  • HOBART, TAS, Australia
  • 09-04-08

mat dillan is kerawac

matt dillan personified the book perfectly

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • ReadingWild
  • 11-25-12

Great Peformance

A difficult book to express, perfectly rendered - well done Mr Dillon. One of the very best readings I've heard.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gregory
  • 08-03-13

still fresh.

Would you listen to On the Road again? Why?

Yes. It gets better with age.

What other book might you compare On the Road to, and why?

The Dharma Bums - J.K.

What about Matt Dillon’s performance did you like?

I have had often been dissapointed by american narrators, not so in this case. Dillon is perfectly pitched for this.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes i laughed out loud. But this time around, having read the book at 15 , 25 years ago, i could relate to the book from personal experience. I enjoyed the book very much at 15, and "got it"...but realise much went over my head, especialy the sadness of dysfunctional relationships. At 15, i was excited by the drugs, in awe of DM ( since then i have known a few types like DM, recognise their attraction but see the negativity and vamparism in them too), the sexual liasons and all night sessions in jazz dens. i enjoyed them this time around too, but especially enjoyed the bucholic descriptions of the urban and wild landscapes...something i was less sensitive to first time around. I put off buying the audio for months , suspecting i would find the novel childish, im a european through and through... i traveled throughout the USA by car in 2000...in sum it is a frighteningly banal place, for me, even its glorious natural wilderness's (whats left of them), could not redeem the USA. this book was wrtitten half a century ago...a pivotal point. it is as fresh and profound as anything else of the genre, the ultimate beat book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Book Fiend
  • 10-10-13

Iconic Novel

What did you like best about On the Road? What did you like least?

Loved the contemporary feel of a story set in late forties/early fifties, and the sizzlingly brilliant writing. Loathed the abusive relationships with women depicted in such a matter of fact and helpless manner.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Matt Dillon's narration was very poor except with dialogue. All other sentences were churned out too quickly, as if bored and with the same down turn in tone at the end of the sentence regardless of context.<br/>

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-13-16

What a book should be....

After reading the book four times it was time to listen, beautifully read, thank you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bob
  • 12-23-12

Super Stuff

A brilliant performance by Matt Damon takes the listener right into the heart of Kerouac's cool ramble of a book. I was immersed in fifties America, on the back of pickup trucks and in the seediest hotel rooms, in love and isolated, life through the dark glass of a poetic mind. Great writing, great performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 09-01-08

On a role....

In its first, and true draft, Kerouac typed directly on a single continuous roll of paper - a preternatural, crystal clear stream, tic-tac'd on a typewriter. A monotone delivery is pitch perfect and here is what we get in this performance of one of the 'landmark' skid novels of the twentieth century. For me it will always be the 'Birth of the Cool' in written form and transposes neatly in time, place and temperament with the sounds of Miles Davis. The combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person, his natural predisposition, his fears, his motivations, what makes him laugh and where he chooses to dispose of the instinctual energies and desires that are derived from the id. Daddy-oh. A feeling, a place, a time, relax, forget, remember and then let it go....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Crispin
  • 06-08-07

Classic book -- shame about the reading

5 stars for the book but Matt Dillon's reading is done in a gruff monotone. This is a very long reading, and after a while it becomes difficult to listen to because of his delivery. Worthwhile but flawed.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Pete Lachaise
  • 09-05-17

An American classic - I think not.

This was a book which I was keen to read after hearing so much about it and it beibng classed as an American classic. Regret its more American hype than a classic and I see from the reviews I am not the only one to think so. Now Catcher in the Rye is a classic and if that gets 5 stars this deserves 1.

I found the book hard to enjoy with the number of characters the wish washy dialogue and it seemed to be going nowhere fast even though he was going across America. Maybe when it was written to that generation it meaner more but I regret having bought it and I found it boring.

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  • I. Fitchett
  • 06-28-17

A truth I understand from begining to end.

If you could sum up On the Road in three words, what would they be?

True. Real. Life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dean Moriarty. He's very much how I was, and still am inside. I recognized myself and a few others.

Which character – as performed by Matt Dillon – was your favourite?

Dean Moriarty

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole thing had the wind blowing through my hair.

Any additional comments?

I read it years ago but actually having it read to you was amazing.

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  • MR C K GRAHAM
  • 06-15-17

Matt Dillon Masterpiece

Matt Dillon was amazing as the narrator, I actually felt that he too shared the love of Dean Moriarty. wooeee!

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  • Adam
  • 03-30-17

Good, but hard to follow.

I liked it, but I found it to be a challenging read. It's the prose style in which Jack Keruoac writes in that gives it its unique style but makes it feel like one long camp fire story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah-Jayne
  • 05-17-16

Incomprehensible

Hard to follow. The mind of an meth head.
Might have been shocking at the time, but it's a boring story with no plot.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful