Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#9 Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

Finally, finally, finished this book.

This is what I can say about it: It was rambling, at times poetic, crazy, tragic, beautiful at times, peaceful at times, wandering, among many other things. The first part was written at a cabin in the West Coast woods of Big Sur. Because of that it is peaceful and beautiful and in tune with nature and the violence of the sea and humanity is only kind of lost here. Kerouac is calm here, letting himself float along with the wind and smell and the sound of nature, so his writing takes on those characteristics. His words flow like the creek he loves, sometimes they stumble along like he does while trying to navigate the woods and cliffs, sometimes they hoot like the owls he hears, or scurry like the mice he feeds. I like this part of the book; its nice to read.
Later, he leaves the beach and returns to the "real world" and here is where he and I started to lose touch. He falls back into his bad habits, drinking all night, waking up feeling sick, only to continue drinking. He also includes some of his "friends" in this- I say this because they don't all seem to be real friends to me (mine wouldn't let me do this to myself)- taking them along on his rambling, drunken journeys all over San Fransisco. He is meeting with people, some he likes, some he doesn't, and invading others' lives. He seems to think that those people enjoy his invasions, but I'm not so sure. As the narrative continues, it becomes more and more drunken in style. He also begins to experience hallucinations due to his copious drinking--> delirium tremens.
The last part of the book details his descent into madness, basically. He thinks that he can hear and see things that aren't there, his is severely paranoid that the people in his life are plotting against him, or wish to harm him both physically and mentally. At this point, his words are so hard to follow, that I actually took to reading them aloud to better enforce what I was reading.
This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, so I wouldn't suggest this for young people. But if you like stream of consciousness, this might be up your alley.

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