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Lonesome Traveler

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  5,983 ratings  ·  215 reviews
As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published August 3rd 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1960)
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J.L.   Sutton
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Some of the final sections of Lonesome Traveler are really worth reading. New York Scenes, Alone on a Mountaintop and the Vanishing American Hobo provide interesting insight on Kerouac and the beat writers. I think this is another work Kerouac finished at breakneck speed and refused to edit. It is uneven, but definitely has gems as well!
Jim Leckband
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Forget On the Road, this is the book to read of Kerouac. "On the Road" is fine, but is hampered by Kerouac's thinly disguised hankering after Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady in real life). If Kerouac would have wrote about that elephant in the room it would have been a better book. The whole book I was going "Hey, Sal, the guys a sociopath, get over it!".

In any case, those problems aren't in this collection of essays on the traveling life Kerouac had in the late 40's and 50's. Thank God he is
Linda Hart
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like it but.... sloppy writing. Didn't finish it.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this on the US election day. It seemed appropriate somehow. This book was a little odd in that it was re-telling stories he'd covered in other novels, but I really enjoyed the way he told them in this. It was definitely some of his more beautiful prose, in particular the first story about meeting his friend. It was one of those great Kerouac descriptions were nothing much happens except two people bum around a bit, and it's simply engrossing. I also really enjoyed his descripti ...more
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, once Jack started writing about working on trains, you could really feel his love for trains and I was able to get into the story then.

This is a collection of stories from Jack's travels, featuring America, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London. I was looking forward to reading about his time in Europe, I wanted to compare his experience to Henry Miller and George Orwell, but it was very different, it was all very spiritual for him, all those o
David A Johnson
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a bunch of short-ish pieces put together by the common theme of Kerouac being alone and going all everywhere.

It's my favorite thing of his I've read yet, and it's mainly because it's easier for me to take him in small doses than large. I don't consider myself to have a short attention span, but reading him, often I'll start to turn to go to the next page then realize my brain has been off on something else while my eyes scanned the words.

Reading (quietly) out loud
I think I expected this to be like Orwell's down & out in Paris & London, which it was in part. The first half of the book is really repeatative and boring. Reading about one train was enough for me but there was the odd beauty of a sentence that pushed me on. This is really short but has taken me a little while probably due to the first half. The second half was exactly what I wanted! I have a total literary crush on Jack and I love to read the romance he sees in the everyday. His trave ...more
Matthew White
A continuation of the conversationalist and sensationalist style that we know. Kerouac's elongated sentences, unorthodox usage of grammar and atypical writing methods is as cumbersome here as it ever was. There's no sense faulting his manipulation of the senses through the written word, but the stories herein are presumably much better heard in the midst of a smoky, whiskey-soaked beat poetry bar, somewhere in the caverns of New York.
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jazznbeats
Pretty likable collection of short pieces written by Ti-Jean chronicling his railroading man days, jazz parties guzzling dago red piss and more mountaintop madness. Most of it rocks and his stream of consciousness style which rules this book keeps the action fresh and frisky.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k, 2012
Quite possibly the worst book I read in 2012.
At some point, I stuck pins in my eyes and poured bleach into my ears, just so I could experience a different sort of pain.

How thankful I am that I don't have any more Kerouac on my shelves
Arthur Graham
A lot of this was pretty redundant, given the autobiographical nature of his fiction, but it was still a nice little window into the stories behind the stories.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
You can read the review here:
What a great book to find in the hostel where I am staying.
It certainly reveals the man under the myth,and what stands out for me is his integrity and fearless spirit.From the introduction he gives quite a different picture than critics and most fans derive:

Always considered writing my duty on earth.Also the preachment of universal kindness which hysterical critics have failed to notice...Am actually not beatbut strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic....

Well well we
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, beat
I've read enough Kerouac at this juncture to feel pretty qualified to make broad statements about his work. Its quality is hugely variable, ranging from gripping, energetic, original prose to truly dreadful and self-indulgent dreck.

I put this one squarely in the good camp, not too far from his masterwork On the Road. In Lonesome Traveler, we're Kerouac's companion as he bounces around corners of America and the world. The book is broken out into sections based on geography, keeping them relativ
Tito Quiling, Jr.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
I'm still at a point where I don't think I will be tired of reading any Kerouac book soon because of this strong connection to his writings -- about the uncertainties in life and the need to move.

Lonesome Traveler is a compilation of narratives that has one common theme: travel. Although others have stated that Kerouac's dependence on his mother and at times, his aunt for financial support as he was writing his novels is less than commendable, I find his persistence in continuing to move quite inspirin
Mike Good
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read, but only recommended for those deeply interested in the beats. What I liked about it, is it is a very intimate chronicle without any fictive veils on how Kerouac lived his life, and received the world around him. At it's worst it was written in the style of a less gruesome Burroughs novel. My favorite times were the passages where Kerouac spends a summer in solitude, working for the US Forestry service, and subsequently travels to Europe. "God is in all things that ...more
Rand Rhody
PRO: The sketches in this memoir show K to be an observant writer, using poetic language that doesn’t make for a relaxing straight-through read but does make for a great study in descriptive exposition for would-be writers. Far from stream-of-consciousness or spontaneous prose, these well-chosen words are carefully worked out.

CON: In the final analysis there is no So What. For all his reputation of seeking, there is no transcendence or even greater understanding transmitted to us. Hi
David Highton
Autobiographical pictures from Kerouac's travels, written in his inimitable natural style
John Eastman
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good book but not one of Kerouacs best. I enjoyed the writing style and flow tho. All in all a good book but not a must-read. ...more
Max Huang
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this on a fancy cruise like a fucking phony
Bradley Clacy
May 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Overall, I'm giving this book two stars as the first 100 pages of travel stories weren't that great. But the author's introduction and the final three chapters 'Alone on a mountaintop', 'Big trip to Europe' and 'The vanishing American hobo' were well worth a read. Because of those last few chapters, you could probably push this to a three, but I'm sticking to two because, as I said, overall it wasn't that good.
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this book 4 stars for the last part, The Vanishing American Hobo. In this, Kerouac is not really lamenting the lost hobo life or glamorizing it. He's depicting it as both a loss of freedom and as a life that is full of sorrow and lonliness. His descriptions of hobo life in the wilderness as somewhat romantic, and hobo life in the city, especially NY, as lonely and dangerous. He poignantly writes about the way society, while becoming more suburban and prosperous in the 1950's, is much ...more
Zeinab Tajouri
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jack-kerouac
" When you realize that God is Everything you know that you’ve got to, love everything no matter how bad it is, in the ultimate sense it was neither good nor bad (consider the dust), it was just what was, that is, what was made to appear.— Some kind of drama to teach something to something, some “despised substance of divinest show.”

"Love life for what it is, and form no preconceptions whatever in your mind."

The writing was so smooth and fast paced I couldn't stop myself
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'd never read Kerouac before. So, when I started this book it took me a while to get the hang of his writing style. I feel as though Kerouac wrote to be read out loud - it felt a lot more natural to follow this way, and it reinforced the theatricality of some of the characters he met on his travels. Best sections for me, came on wards from 'Slobs of the Kitchen Sea'. I loved 'New York Scenes', the buzz of the city's night-life truly came alive here, and I could easily imagine being with Jack in ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Each chapter in this loose travelogue appears to be the warm up for one of Kerouac's novels. Entire passages are identical in Lonesome Traveler and the subsequent novel. However, Traveler has additional bits of each tale which either explain more about the adventures in the novel, or which are totally new adventures in themselves. In this latter case, many show a much seamier side of the hobo life, in which the traveler's life is often threatened.

The final chapter of the book laments
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literary fiction fans, short story fans
I first read this book in the form of a crumbling first edition I was lucky to get through interlibrary loan. Most Kerouac titles were out of print back then; few libraries would loan them out.

Truman Capote claimed to have invented 'reportage'---nonfiction utilizing the format of fiction. He didn't. Kerouac did---and LONESOME TRAVELER kicks the ass of any reportage Capote ever did.

A major part of Kerouac's image is the globe-trotting he did. In this book, JK recounts many of the tri
S.J. Pettersson
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: worn-spines
So often the first line of a novel establishes the whole book. That surely is the case here as well:
before we all go to Heaven
But in this case, it is the last paragraph that practically knocks you senseless:
"In evil roads behind gas tanks where murderous dogs snarl from behind wire fences cruisers suddenly leap out like getaway cars but from a crime more secret, more baneful than words can tell. The woods are full of wardens."
Jennifer Barrett
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It left me breathless as his stream-of-conscious benny-induced hysteria always does. I find I read faster as the tempo prompts by run-on sentences and staccato phrases crescendo and's over. I realize I haven't taken a breath in some time and my lungs are on fire. And I collapse in a heap of fatigue delirium and satisfaction and I understand. You don't read Kerouac. You experience him, you breathe him, you ingest him. He becomes part of you. And if you disagree, well..we just can't be fr ...more
Veronika KaoruSaionji
I read this because this was the most beloved book of Sumire, heroine of Murakamis novel Sputnik sweetheart. I read Kerouacs On the road in my high school times and I loved it (I dont remember much about this book, only that I enjoyed it pretty well). But this book is certainly not my cup of tea. Maybe I have changeg during past ten years so much that I cannot love Kerouacnovels anymore? Or is On the road and Lonesome traveller so different? I dont know....
Maybe I should re-read On the road.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was really hard to get into at first. His style of writing in this book I found to be very choppy, instead of just stating what he wanted to state he does so in a very round about way. I like that he was the main character in this book and drew from his own life. I found this was a good insight into how his other books came to be. All in all I liked this but it was hard to read a lot of it at once.
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Around the Year i...: Lonesome Traveler, by Jack Kerouac 1 18 Jan 07, 2016 12:35PM  
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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.

“Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realize 'The stars are words' and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words, and so is this world too. And I realize that no matter where I am, whether in a little room full of thought, or in this endless universe of stars and mountains, it’s all in my mind.” 111 likes
“Paris is a woman but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub.” 88 likes
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