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Desolation Angels (Duluoz Legend)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,487 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
With the publication of On the Road, in 1957, Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) became at once the spokesman and central figure of the Beat Generation. The subsociety of artists, writers, and visionaries, among whom were Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassidy, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and their poetic historian Kerouac, brought a new romantic revolt to the bleak '40s and '50s, and s ...more
Paperback, First Perigree Priting, 370 pages
Published 1980 by Perigee Books (first published 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 13, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the best reason I can think of for anyone ever learning to read. I've spent most of it with my mouth - metaphorically - hanging open, and my heart perpetually glowing and breaking along with Kerouac's various and numerous highs and lows. Can you be in love with someone who died years before you were even a twinkle in the eye of the universe? I think so.

This is not On the Road, and On the Road is nothing by comparison. That is, if there can be any other piece of writing that could e
May 14, 2009 Joscha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Desolation Angels starts where Kerouac left us at the end of The Dharma Bums. On Desolation Peak. Although the two books kind of flow into each other you will notice that Kerouac has changed. After the thrilling and fervid On The Road he became more quiet and meditative. He still has that excitement for life and experience and that somehow never ending urge to be on the road and hang out with his old Beat buddies but eventually he can't identify with the spirit of the so called Beat Generation a ...more
Dava B
Jun 26, 2009 Dava B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite Kerouac book so far. If there is a continuum of idealism, which starts from 'On the Road' and on through 'The Dharma Bums', it is at this book (which follows on from 'The Dharma Bums') that the cracks are really beginning to appear in Jack Kerouac's experience.

Yet to put it so simply feels like a crude summing up of what Jack Kerouac was really about. His ability to capture the highs, the lows, the humor and the horror of life is nothing short of inspiring. And who am I, really, to
Andy Miller
While I truly loved On the Road, I was pleasantly surprised when I read Dharma Bums and found it to be an even better book. However, I found Desolation Angels somewhat of a disappointment

The book starts with his time as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascade, I've learned that this section of the book was mainly taken from the journals he wrote at the time--much of it deals with his musings on Buddhism and his life-and I found that part to be somewhat flat.More interesting was hi
East Bay J
Jun 23, 2008 East Bay J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios-and-memoirs
Of the many Beat writers, Burroughs and Kerouac are the two who I’ve read the most and who’s writing has had the most impact on me. Of the two, I like Burroughs’ writing more but find I identify more with Kerouac’s.

The first Kerouac book I read was On The Road . I was in college and I was in Spokane in the early morning waiting for a bus to take me home to Cheney. I read the entire book waiting for that bus, which tells you I was way into it and that the busses In Spokane were few and far betwe
Sarah Crawford
I, like many others, found Desolation Angels after reading On The Road.
If you're expecting this to be an off-shoot of On The Road, you'd be wrong.
This book is a journey into the mind of Kerouac. Some call him genius, some madman, but I don't think you can truly define him in any one catagory.
This book is no easy task. It takes a lot of thinking and a lot of patience to get through, but it's well worth the effort in the end.
Harry Whitewolf
Forget On The Road- this is Kerouac at his best. Combining the spiritual philosophies of the Dharma Bums, the road and parties and seeking of On The Road and the desolation and isolation of the human spirit in the abyss of nature of Big Sur. To me, this is Jack's most accessible and balanced writing, not only for the content, but also for his lyrical prose being at its finest. Genius!
Mar 19, 2016 Reid rated it really liked it
Another excellent chapter in his life, with many great moments. Geographically wide-ranging, from the isolation of Desolation Peak in Washington state to lively San Fran, to the slums and mescal of Mexico City, back to friends and new lovers in NY City, then to Tangiers with morphine-addicted Burroughs and his new book "Nude Supper", haha, to LA by bus with his mother, and finally to Florida to rest his weary tired soul. Definitely felt the desolation throughout this book, over and over he talks ...more
GK Stritch
May 14, 2014 GK Stritch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack-EEE Duluoz climbs the mountain, and comes down (p. 113):

"I go all the way down to First Avenue . . . I realize it's Friday Night all over America, in New York it's just ten o'clock and the fight's started in the Garden and longshoremen in North River bars are all watching the fight and drinking 20 beers apiece, and Sams are sitting in the front row . . . while I spent all summer pacing and praying in mountaintops, of rock and snow, of lost birds and bears, these people've been sucking on ci
Robert Mitchell
May 26, 2013 Robert Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Desolation Angels is heaven and hell and the world and America and the Void and his Mom. Kerouac/Duluoz is a despicable, noble, earnest, loving, whiny, brilliant, loyal, weak, irreplaceable, insane jazz poet. As a preamble, listen to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row and realize how he creates surprisingly linear beauty tangentially, and then crank up the random-o-meter one hundred times for Kerouac. One thousand preliminarily random images turn into a masterful Pointillist painting in prose. Bebop imp ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boy, I really enjoyed this book, even if not a great work of art. For me reading later Kerouac is like a great conversation with a really thoughtful and interesting, if somewhat mixed-up friend. I bought this for .50 at the Friends of Library Booksale, lost it for about two months, and spent many pleasurable hours on my front porch reading the almost 400 pages this spring, summer and fall. I'm feeling kind of melancholy that I'm finished and don't have Jack to visit with anymore. Goodbye Jack. M ...more
Linda Blinova
Apr 18, 2015 Linda Blinova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
В «громадной и безумной легенде» Керуака «Ангелы опустошения» следуют за «Бродягами Дхармы». И если «Бродяги» заканчиваются признанием в любви богу и жаждой обретения нового опыта, то «Ангелы» этот самый опыт воспроизводят, а затем и то, что за ним следует.
Роман составлен из двух книг. Изначально это и были две разные книги, но их объединение закономерно, потому как вторая, «Проездом», становится возможной и, собственно, «проездной» благодаря тому знанию, которое герой получает после своего доб
Kate Buck
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alan Scott
Dec 17, 2008 Alan Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

ON THE ROAD...with Mom

This book may come as a real shock to those whom have a preconcieved notion about what the "Beats" were all about, and it may also be a shock for those more familiar with the jubilant ecstatic life affirmations of On The Road or even The Dharma Bums.

In this book Jack goes on the road (with Mom), has sex with a fourteen year old mexican prostitute, meets up with a Neal (Cody) whom is a far fly from his On the Road days and is tied down with a wife + three kids and a job,
Allan MacDonell
Aug 09, 2013 Allan MacDonell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thing to admire about Jack Kerouac is that he was smart enough to disguise the fact that he was an idiot, in his books at least, and he didn’t do that. This is not to deny that his writings are streaked through with layers of pretentious dispensations lathered upon his fictional self and his thinly disguised friends and literary contemporaries. Starting with its title, Desolation Angels is veined with bold assertions of eternal sacred significance for Kerouac’s book-famous crew of basic fuck ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people under forty years old.
I have read this book a couple of times before. I started it seeking location of Olivia's quote. I still have not found that quote, but kept reading the book.

I have read many of Keouac's books. He was, at one time right up with Ernest Hemingway in my major arcana. But, Jack K., became too depressing for me. The sadness and depression became unbearable. I just could not handle all that misery on top of his personal story. His life was just as miserable and hopeless and the loops of despair that a
Hunter Marston
This book was unique among Keruoac books I've read. It seemed like it was cobbled together by editors in a hurry to sell Keruoac in his post-On the Road fame. It reads as three or four different book projects thrown together into a rather erratic timeline. One: in the Pacific Northwest in solitude, written much more in the style of Big Sur or Dharma Bums spontaneous poetry; Two: shenanigans in San Fransisco with fellow Beats; Three: off in Mexico City (at which point he includes self-reference t ...more
Jul 17, 2012 Kickuntilitbreaks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly not the excitable, lust-for-life Kerouac of On The Road and his earlier days, but still a very recognizably Kerouacian stream of thought. Originally a double novel, the first section is based on his time spent on fire watch upon Desolation Peak and the metaphysical rambles that run through the mind during 60+ days of isolation and solitude. The following section is then Jack's stories of returning to the world and his friends after his brush with the Void. In this section, in this end- ...more
Dec 15, 2015 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanderers, Coffee Junkies, Hitchhikers
Recommended to Steven by: A Neanderthal Angel
Fools! Epochs of fools! I found a battered copy of Desolation Angels on my weekly trip into the city for life drawing. I knew I was better at drawing than most artists alive today and I always liked pretending to be withdrawn so people would leave me alone, also so people wouldn't ask me to get a typical job. But tonight it was three hours of some random naked beatnik girl just looking to make some cash without feeling like a hooker. I had arrived to the basement of the abandoned frame shop earl ...more
Alice deGrey
Mar 15, 2016 Alice deGrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slice-of-life
Jack Kerouac ist ein Schriftsteller, der mich schon lange begleitet und den ich sehr bewundere. Desolation Angels ist das zweite seiner späteren Werke, das ich gelesen habe, und kann auf jeden Fall mit On the Road mithalten. Wie bei Kerouac üblich gibt es auch in diesem Werk keinen Plot im eigentlichen Sinne, da es sich eher um eine Autobiographie handelt. Trotzdem ist es je nach dem Ort, an dem er sich gerade aufhält, in mehrere Teile gegliedert: Desolation Peak, Kalifornien und New York, Mexik ...more
This is really two books – the first book, Desolation Angels, was actually rather tedious, and I was at first regretting I had even started to read this at all. It also didn't help that I’d read about his stint as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak twice before (Lonesome Traveler, Dharma Bums) so I'd more than had my fill already – I was starting to feel (Buddhism, schmuddism) I couldn’t care less. It was Gary Snyder that inspired him to go there (mountains and sutras both, I guess) in the first ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This, rather than "On the Road", is the Kerouac novel I return to. It's a mature work - in the sense that any of the work of someone who died at 47 can truly be called mature - which demonstrates a good deal less blind optimism at the world of experience and 'kicks' and a good deal more self-knowledge than most of the earlier books.

In common with many novels revisited from my youth and earlier-adulthood, I find I respond to it in a developing way, itself a sign that the book has stood a test of
Sep 09, 2014 emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Desolation Angels follows on from Dharma Bums, but if you're looking for the high-on-life rush and optimism of Dharma Bums or On the Road, then you won't find it here. It's a melancholic slide into depression and rejection of the lifestyle that he brought to public consciousness. The first part details his summer as a fire lookout, and when he comes down from the mountain he does resume his old habits, but there's an air of sadness and desperation about it all this time around. It's not an easy ...more
May 09, 2016 Rob rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
It was all downhill after the beautiful title save for some sporadic flashes of poignancy... I was leery of picking up this late-career work of Kerouac's, coming at a point when his writing had saturated the market and booze had flooded his talent. My worst fears were confirmed: this is an incoherent mess. He primes us for tedium by shamelessly recycling The Dharma Bums for the first 70 odd pages, then rambles his way through an endless procession of tired, desultory nonsense. It has none of the ...more
Katie Chico
Probably one of the more intention looks into Jack's mind. A must read for any Kerouac enthusiast, just don't keep the gun loaded.
May 02, 2009 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book rocks the fucking cock.
Anna Weeks
May 03, 2014 Anna Weeks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I've lucked out and read Kerouac's books at the right time in my life. On the Road was perfect for college, Desolation Angels was perfect for now. Kerouac is more mature and is seeing the world in a different way, full of people trying to complete themselves and full of people suffering. He tries to stay above it but gets sucked back in, and he recognized that. It took me a bit to get into it but then I flew through the rest. Interesting and thought provoking for it's perspective on life ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Maddsurgeon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat
A fascinating book; the same basic setup as On the Road or Dharma Bums but much more mature. Kerouac starts alone meditating on a mountain, then comes down and travels the world with his mad poet friends (Ginsberg is there, and Corso, Burroughs and others, all thinly disguised), but when he comes down into the world there is this detached brooding, a hesitant eye cast on all this hectic partying and sudden fame and impending trendiness. It's an introspective tone that plumbs the death of despair ...more
It is truly a novel about desolation. First, actually physical solitude, months of it on a cold mountain with nothing but lush nature and his own thoughts for company. Then it is a desolation of the world, where Kerouac tries to find pleasure and meaning in a series of shallow exchanges, until, finally, it is a desolation of the spirit and he becomes a true desolation angel shrinking into the distance.

Kerouac's belief system transforms with his burgeoning sense of ennui and despair of the world
Feb 17, 2009 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you’re looking for something similar to On The Road or The Dharma Bums from Kerouac, I would advise you not to read this book. It is much more moody and inside Kerouac’s mind. Perhaps it’s Kerouac’s Naked Lunch, in a way. In Desolation Angels, Kerouac survives two months on a mountaing, listens to jazz with friends, smokes a lot of opium (even tries peyote), travels with his mom, and seems to sink deeper into alcoholism, which eventually ruined him.

It takes a lot of effort to read this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster
  • Go
  • The First Third
  • Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
  • The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971
  • Kerouac: A Biography
  • Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution
  • The Yage Letters
  • Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir
  • Memoirs of a Beatnik
  • Jack's Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)
  • Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, And America
  • I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg
  • Demon Box
Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.
Early Life

Famed writer Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Keroua
More about Jack Kerouac...

Other Books in the Series

Duluoz Legend (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
  • Visions of Gerard
  • Dr. Sax
  • The Town and the City
  • Maggie Cassidy
  • Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46
  • On the Road
  • Visions of Cody
  • The Subterraneans
  • Tristessa

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“I'm right there, swimming the river of hardships but I know how to swim...” 77 likes
“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don't be sorry” 65 likes
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