On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road is one of those books that will make you want to get off your backside and do all the adventurous things you've always dreamed of. Set during the Beat movement in the USA, the novel features two main characters that go on a road trip around the USA in search for fulfilment and pleasure.
The two friends encounter many different people and experiences on their journey. The erratic writing style mimics the minds and lifestyles of the characters. Although there is thrill seeking and pleasure, there is also the deep personal quest for meaning and belonging.
Kerouac writes with real exuberance for the good, the bad and the ugly. There is pleasure seeking through vices, yet there are also the squabbles and the exhaustions. The negative as well as the positive add to the experiences. This gives the novel a real edge as it captures the journey that the characters make, searching for more than conventionalities that society offers. The array people that the characters meet along the way and the conversations that they have really highlight this and are some of the best written parts of the novel.
One aspect of the writing that must be commended is how Kerouac manages to heighten the readers’ senses; make you hear the music, feel the sweat and smell the whiskey.
A magnificent mix of autobiography and fiction, this novel kick starts the cult American road trip style movies that have hit Hollywood since. Inspiring and enlightening.