“That’s not writing. That’s typing.”
Of Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote famously said, “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”
While I’ll agree that Kerouac is no Fitzgerald, he does have his moments.
This passage, for example, which is one of my favorites in the novel:
“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
Such a haunting, descriptive passage. I’m guessing we’ve all had a moment like that, maybe after waking up from a long nap or after a vivid dream. Kerouac does a wonderful job of describing that feeling.
The overall feeling of On The Road is one of sadness. That’s despite Sal’s and (especially) Dean’s outward “happiness” and frantic energy.
This is a good novel, though I’m not as in love with as I was when I first read it in my 20s. Not surprising.