ontheroadI’ve just started reading Jack Kerouac again. Having my ipod out of action and a long train ride south of the river to bear I dug into the mountain of books piled high in the corner of the lounge room, sifted through yellowed pages to find the cover of Big Sur looking up at me. It was like meeting an old friend. Kerouac is an author I always find myself re-reading and never tire of. His words never fail to inspire and amaze. Like all his novels Big Sur is Autobiographical and follows Jack after the publication of his breakthrough novel On The Road as he struggles to deal with the pressures and expectations of success and fame. It begins with Jack waking from an alcoholic daze in a cheap hotel. His friends have given up waiting for him and have headed up the coast from San Francisco to a shack on a beach in Big Sur. Jack, desperate to escape the City follows them up and eventually finds himself alone at the shack. Here, before heading back to the City to see old friends, he meditates on his life and his initial peace of mind slowly unravels until he is once again left to struggle with his demons and self-destructs into an alcoholic delirium.

Here is a recording of Kerouac reading the first section of his book Old Angel Midnight, a collection of spontaneous prose pieces first published in 1959.

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