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Satori In Paris

(Duluoz Legend)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,700 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Although he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's family was French-Canadian, a fact of which he was proud. Published in 1967, when Kerouac was at the height of his fame, this book tells the story of a ten-day visit to Paris and Brittany in search of his ancestors. On this hectic odyssey, fascinated by everything and everyone he met, from a faded French beau ...more
Paperback, Flamingo Modern Classics, 109 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1966)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  1,700 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Steven Godin
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, paris
I was never a fan of 'On The Road', and have found other works of his to be a mixed bag. This though is one of my favourites, but not simply down to the fact it's Paris. He was a bit older here, in his forties, and shows a more mature side in his writing. It's still witty and amusing and alcohol is always in full flow, as he moves around Paris attempting to piece together some family history. He mingles with the locals rather unsuccessfully (don't know how they would have perceived him), marvels ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jack Kerouac goes on a quest to find his alleged Breton ancestor De Keroac in post- WW2 France, resulting in a trippy, otherworldly report of the writer's journey in Paris, Brest and Paris again!

Unreasonnably funny :^)

Matching Soundtrack :
Willie the Pimp - Frank Zappa
Absolutely unrecognisable.

The book opens with Kerouac declaring during his ten days in Paris he experienced an illumination of some kind, or a "Satori" - a Japanese word for 'sudden illumination' or 'sudden awakening'. Though on finishing this book, when and how this experience took place remains to be seen.

The story concerns Kerouac wandering around France trying (and largely failing) to learn something of his ancestry, drinking too much and showing off his knowledge of French dialects.

The wr
My first review of 2020 goes to Kerouac. This is one of his last novels and it is, sadly, Kerouac in his ruin, I think. It's written in this strange informal way, saying 'cant' and 'wouldnt' and never using apostrophes and using words like 'thru'. Almost, text speak, actually.

I read this in Paris, which I thought would be great. Turns out, Kerouac doesn't (doesnt) really say much about Paris at all. There are two things in the title of this book, satori and Paris which are 'promised' and neithe
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that this review is perhaps a reflection on my intellect more than anything else, but I just don't think I "get" it. I didn't have a clue what the Satori was supposed to be (though tbf Kerouac/ the protag/ whatever amalgamation of voice was narrating the story, didn't seem to either). I didn't seem to get any sense of a spiritual journey at all. I didn't get how one man can be so pleased that his French was passable for as long as this dude was. And I especially didn't get how someone ca ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a very quick read but not a very good read. I mostly rolled my eyes at this man, Jack Kerouac. He drinks too much, he enlightens very little for a book about a supposed epiphany.
One day I also want to travel to my ancestor's homeland in search of my roots (it will be a little easier since I know what town to go to and who to ask for). Jack failed, he gave up in this way that he didn't even bother to admit it. The more I think about him the less I like him. Lusting after a nineteen year
Γιώργος Μανι
The title should be "Alcohol in Paris", as Kerouac most certainly talks more about his drinks rather than "a moment of enlightment". Kerouac at his usual, messing around, drinking, travelling from place to place like a madman. ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Late Kerouac, fueled by alcohol and loneliness.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
He Went to France and Saw Lady's Underpants (But Lost His Luggage)

Jack Kerouac starring in On the Road In Paris, a short novel/memoir hybrid that was originally published in three installments in Evergreen Review.

Early on, Kerouac lays down the ground rules of both this late-in-life (how was he to know?) assignment and his overall body of work, stating that it is a "tale that's told for no other reason but companionship, which is another (and my favorite) definition of other wor
Sorin Hadârcă
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, kerouac, france
Nice little book with not that much satori in it, unless you're counting the cognacs that go along. Kerouac fancy himself a bit of blue blood, Breton descent, in search of his ancestry (not really, more boasting to his beatnik friends) but so lightly written, and funny, so all happy, including myself for reading it. ...more
James Tingle
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it

Bit random at times but interesting and still full of good adventures and amusing moments!
M. Cornelis van der Weele IV
An unintentional record of the artist in decline.
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sparkling, lyrical and Beat-iful writing: Jack Kerouac down (and not quite out) with the Parisian hepcats. File under Jeanology...
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
delightful! thank you to my good friend jackson greer
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first Kerouac. Not the last. I've got a taste for it, people are saying it's not his best. ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Wanted to read it in Paris. Now I have. Nothing life-affirming, but entertaining nonetheless.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
A lonely alcholic barely keeps it together
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
I last read this book in my late teens. Now, almost thirty years later I read it again in one sitting. I loved Satori in Paris first time around, pretty much like I loved all of Kerouac's writing.

However, this time the book feels as if it is one written by a writer at the end of his greatness.

There are hints of Kerouac's often thrilling prose but that is largely obscured by the overwhelming feeling (for me anyway) that this is a man at the end of the road. What was once great and flowed freeli
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
You know, I'm not actually sure what Kerouac's satori was. The book is basically him wandering around France, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to learn something about his genealogy in between visits to various bars. But it's a quick read and Kerouac's conversational style is engaging, if sometimes unintelligible (at least now, 60 years after it was written). He also has a knack for befriending some pretty random and entertaining people. ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's a story about an American (Kerouak) who goes in France, to know much about his name (he is descended of a French noble family and a few generations before his ancestors went to America). He likes to speak with all kind of people (right) but unfortunately for the reader i' am, he likes to drink a lot, so had a lot of adventures during his trip : majority of them is to lost his plane or train or waiting for a train or a fly and drinking. ...more
Jonas Rippstein
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read the book while I was travelling exactly through the places where Kerouac went in the book (Brittany, Paris). When you know something about the region and you've been at the places and you know that here was Kerouac as well, it kind of let's you get more excited for the book. "Satori in Paris" is a great spiritual experience, not just for Kerouac but for the reader as well. ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love this! I love all of Kerouac, especially The Town and the City which is in a totally different writing style. But just like some of the characters in that novel and his writing voice in most of his works, Kerouac's writing is teeming with life. The pacing is quick, the content flickering between what seems like vivid details of the mundane (like too-specific descriptions of BIG meals; he was quite the eater and drinker, devouring life as literally as he did metaphorically) but actually are j ...more
Kes Farrell
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Anything I read of Kerouac - really no matter what - I love. He could be writing a book with the most sexist, anti-Semitic, drunken clamor and I would still love it. There has always been a magnetism of me to the man. As I have with all great writers. Their words pierce the soul like a pin against a balloon. Acuity. 'A Satori in Paris' is of no exception. In it Kerouac - forty-something, drunk, lost, on the fringes of health and a career - has gone to France to discover the origins of his family ...more
Isabel Losada
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I never read Kerouac or Ginsberg. I'd always thought they were just a bunch of drunks. Of course they were a bunch of drunks but why did no-one tell me that each of them was a kind of genius too?

I love this little book. Found 'On the Road' harder but I've just re-read this. Kerouac is so passionate about life. I feel as though I'm being given lessons in how to live by a dead man. He's more alive than many people I know who are actually breathing. I find myself marking a paragraph I particularly
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was mandatory reading for one of the classes on modernism I'm taking this semester. I've already read On The Road and was severely dissappointed by it, so I didn't go into this with high expectations.
In this book we follow Kerouac's experiences in Paris and Brittany while he's trying to find out more about his ancestors. Not a bad premise but not exactly exciting either.
This reads like the bumbling, aimless drunken rambling of a cynical middle-aged alcoholic who thinks he's better than ev
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As travel books go, this is light fare. Nothing much of interest happens, and even the supposed moment of enlightenment promised in the title is half baked and ill explained. As Kerouac goes, this is light fare in that regard as well, as it is not written in Kerouac's normal style; he explains the mundane moments of his trip in relatively straight forward prose.

So, does the book have value? It does, because even when Kerouac neglects his normal, bebop, rhythmic style, he can't help but be an in
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was originally published in three parts in "The Evergreen Review" and it does feel a lot more like a short story or article than a complete novel. Not sure what the great Satori (awakening) is, except wanting to go back home, but this is enjoyable enough.

All of Kerouac's stories show him as being prone to calamities and bad judgment, and this book is no different. This reads like a tourist relating the details of a nightmare trip where everything goes wrong. Most of it is his own fault. The
Marielle Fatima Tuazon
Not bad for my first Kerouac. I read this in a day, would have finished sooner but I kept falling asleep in my bed and wishing I knew more French than the lyrics of La vie en rose burned into my memory. I enjoyed 'travelling' with Jack in this book, the non-cliché of his experience, but I must say there really is a distinct difference seeing the world through a man's point-of-view, even on print. As for the Satori...I found it just a little bit lacking context going forward, though I appreciate ...more
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Easy reading by Kerouac's standards but gives the distinct impression it was bashed out without much interest on his part. It was towards the end of his life though, I believe, so perhaps it's an achievement that he managed to get it written at all. I'd just finished reading the biography Memory Babe when I started this, which may account for the gloomy despondence Satori in Paris left me with. It's the most amusing of his books that I've read, however. ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
I've never read any Kerouac before. And maybe that's where Ive gone wrong by starting here. But I just couldn't get into or enjoy this.
I disliked the excessive drinking and the style of writing. I did love the snippets of Paris, but that wasn't enough to rate it higher.
Go to Paris, enjoy the city, don't take Kerouac.
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Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac 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.


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Duluoz Legend (1 - 10 of 14 books)
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  • The Town and the City
  • Maggie Cassidy
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