The afterword in this book would have me change my feelings about the novel. It appeals to the adoration I have for the two gents responsible for compThe afterword in this book would have me change my feelings about the novel. It appeals to the adoration I have for the two gents responsible for composing this work and completely detracts from its merit.
Hippos is a middle of the road work. It brings nothing new and, to be honest, isn't written well enough to warrant mention. It was probably a fun book to write and it's a terribly fun book to read, but only if you're the sort of person who is really into Beat mythology.
I can see why Hippos is a fan favorite. It represents an easily understandable piece by two of literature's most notoriously difficult writers. If you gave up on Naked Lunch and you couldn't quite make it through On the Road, you'll feel much more comfortable with this book, in which two very stylistic men deviate entirely from their trademark styles.
As much as it pains me to say it, this book wasn't very good. For me personally, the previous statement represents a lot of growth. If I had read this a few years ago, this review would be much different. I'd be proclaiming the authors to be saints and recommending this book to any of my hip literary friends who would listen. As the years have gone by, however, I can see that Saint Kerouac wasn't perfect. That Burroughs was absurdly intelligent, but his work is nearly impossible to decipher.
This book let me down. How do I face Kerouac again? What if I start seeing all the cracks in the foundation and my favorite books of all time are no longer my favorites? Will I maintain the facade? Or will I demote a man, whose essence I swore to fucking god was somehow physically sewn into my own soul, to the ranks of R.L. Stine and Clive Barker - authors who were great at the time, but were simply a phase? I don't know the answer to any of these questions and, if I'm honest, I don't like to think about them. ...more
To be completely honest, I didn't really like Kerouac's Buddha. He was far too Catholic. With every "thee" and "thou" and every "lord" and "savior" ITo be completely honest, I didn't really like Kerouac's Buddha. He was far too Catholic. With every "thee" and "thou" and every "lord" and "savior" I became a little more disenchanted. His Buddha was very personal, and, for that reason, largely inaccessible.
While I feel somewhat certain that Kerouac might have considered this to be one of his greatest works, as he always seemed to be enthralled by his religious experiences, but it really wasn't. This, I think, was more of a personal reflection on his idea of Buddhism and a connection to a Buddha he could love. By blending together his lifelong beliefs with this Eastern philosophy, he was able to create a religion that he could believe in. A place where his guilt, perhaps his most defining characteristic, meant something greater than himself.
His voice was missing with all its great unending sentences rambling long into the night like some sad locomotive barreling across the Nevada desert screaming its way into oblivion with every chug and pull and ache. But I digress. Reading this, I could not hear Kerouac. I could hear love and adoration and awe combined with the regurgitation of some prominent Buddhist texts. I cannot fault him for this single scholarly work, but it falls among the ranks of Pic and Orpheus Emerged, which, while not terrible works, were simply not Kerouac.
Still, I cannot give Ti Jean a bad review. He is still closer to my heart than any writer has ever been, and for that I would love his grocery lists....more
The idea behind this book is intriguing. Jack Kerouac comes back to Earth after being dead for a long thirteen years. He meets up with his old buddiesThe idea behind this book is intriguing. Jack Kerouac comes back to Earth after being dead for a long thirteen years. He meets up with his old buddies and discovers just how much his beloved America has changed.
Unfortunately, the book just isn't that good. Rosenthal attempts to imitate Kerouac's spontaneous prose, but fails. He captures the Kerouac cliche quite nicely. It's almost satirical, but that is obviously not the intention. Several of Kerouac's expressions are abused, making it seem as though the writing follows a specific formula.
There are a few moments, however, where something Kerouacian shines through. I really enjoyed some passages. In many parts, this book consists of good writing. Unfortunately, all of those parts are when the author stops imitating for a moment and just sees things through his character's eyes.
In the end, I don't know if I'd recommend this book or not. The Beat Literature fan in me was disgusted. I felt the book did Kerouac no justice. It was kind of amusing, however, to read about Kerouac and Corso in Disneyland. It was also entertaining to entertain the thought of William Burroughs letting this Kerouac reincarnation shoot an apple off of HIS head.