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The Sea is My Brother

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,830 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
First publication for Kerouac's 'lost novel.
Hardcover, 1st, 256 pages
Published 2011 by Penguin
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Like certain albums, certain writers feel like a season to me. It's an arbitrary association, often stemming from a personal relevance that corresponds to some insignificant-but-for-its-inexplicable-permanence first-encounter moment. Because I was introduced to Jack Kerouac via On the Road at a fleetingly crucial moment in my life during my last spring as a college student, when things were just starting to make sense as the future emerged from its hazy distance, my heady urge to get lost in his ...more
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Ένα απολαυστικό βιβλίο, που μας μεταφέρει στην Αμερική των 30’s. Μια διαφορετική Νέα Υόρκη, πιο ανθρώπινη. Δύο νέοι άνθρωποι που ξεκινούν με ωτοστόπ για τη Βοστόνη, ώστε να μπαρκάρουν σε εμπορικό πλοίο για τη Γροιλανδία. Όλο το σκηνικό με το ξενύχτι της προηγούμενης νύχτας στα μπαρ της Νέας Υόρκης και το «μεγάλο» ταξίδι. Οι περιγραφές φαντάζουν καλύτερες από μια καλογυρισμένη ταινία. Όσο για τους ήρωες, πρόκειται για νέους γεμάτους όνειρα, προερχόμενοι από φτωχές οικογένειες, παρ’ όλα αυτά πολιτ ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely does a publishing event of this magnitude happen. I am fortunate it occurred in my lifetime.

"The Sea is my Brother" was a undiscovered first novel of Jack Kerouac published decades after his death and written some ten odd years before his seminal work, "On the Road".

In this book, the road is the sea, dark, unfathomable and threatening with the unseen and sudden insanity of the violence of war.

The two main characters are a composite of the author. On the one side is the yearning for car
John Jaramillo
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I remember Kerouac biographer Ann Charter arguing in the documentary King of the Beats that Kerouac could write in any form and style and that in her extensive study of the man and his work she could see the struggle for a more unique and distinct style. In the Sea is My Brother and also in Atop an Underwood, another pre-On the Road manuscript I’ve read lately, I can see what Ann Charter means. His early work, or “juvenile work” as some reviewers I’ve read have called it, contrasts sharply with ...more
Well what can I say regarding this second book by Jack Kerouac that I have read? I adore him. I have a total literary/fantasy crush on him. This book is part novel, the second part is filled with Jack's early writings, this includes letters to friends, segments of ideas for novels and poems. The book also includes many pieces of writing by one of Jack's closest childhood friends and allows the reader to delve into the two writers as they grow and change.
I was at first disappointed when the main
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
That book is a sensitively build, respectful and loving homage to this mans development into the Icon he later became.

It is an early work, so don't be disappointed by his writing. It's not "on the road" yet, but if you look at it as a promise to what was later to come, you will love it! I find him to have been a wise man at any age, lonely in his soul but extremely mature for his age.

I love the way the book is partitioned, so typically penguinesque ;-) The introductions, references to his influ
I did quite enjoy this. It was nice to be able to read Kerouac's first attempt at a novel. Unfortuantely it was flawed in several ways, the biggest being that it wasn't finished. Kerouac was splitting himself into two different protagonists for this, the scholar and the drunk, unfortuantely one of the things that make him most interesting to me is the fact that he is both and seperating himself out just made both characters weaker. That said it was a nice story about friendship and searching for ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-recent
Kerouac's first novel. A well written introduction precedes the story of two men, or really two versions of the same man: a free spirit and a safe person. Definitely an enjoyable read.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
estrujadito corazón
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sea is My Brother is amongst the earliest novels ever penned by Jack Kerouac.

It is a very strong novel written by a young man with much promise but this edition is filled, in my humble opinion, with too much 'filler' material. The novel itself only comprises about 40% of the actual book size. About 10% consists of some of Kerouac's journals and short plays that he was writing or working on around the time that he wrote this novel while the other whopping 50% feature some fascinating correspo
Grady Ormsby
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
The Sea Is My Brother is Jack Kerouac’s first novel, and serves as a foundation for his signature style and experiential approach to writing. As Kerouac himself wrote, “I want to study more of the earth, not out of books, but from direct experience.” The manuscript went unpublished for seventy years because of the author’s low opinion if it. He noted: "It's a crock [of shit] as literature." The book is a rough autobiographical reflection of Kerouac’s first years in New York City and his brief Me ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-challenge
I picked this up simply because it was Kerouac's first novel. I knew that he wasn't fond of it but I have enjoyed his previous books and there is some similarity in this one with the others. It is written in the typical Kerouac style, a man searching for his peace and his place in the world. The main character, Wesley Martin, is a wanderer. A man that, on the surface, appears to be a free spirited vagabond without a care in the world and tales of booze, music, and women. However, the story then ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was unsure about this book at first but I was hooked after 10 pages.
The story of two strangers random meeting in a bar, Wes and Bill who decide to ship out to sea together with the merchant marine during WWII before the US joined the allies. The story deals with the pairs two very different reasons and circumstances for wanting to shipping out to sea. Wes is an experienced seaman who has sail across the oceans many times before and Bill is a university professor at Columbia who is seeking adve
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
More about Sebastian Sampas and less about Kerouac really. The novel's fine, but the 'Early Writings' part disappointed me. The pictures of Kerouac's childhood add to the fascination. I don't think it's one of those books were you finish the book in one sitting. You have to read and re-read it.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Part I: "The sea is my brother" 4 sterren
Part II: "Early writings" 3 sterren
Part II: "Kerouac and the young Prometheans" 2 sterren (is meer voor mensen die Kerouac bestuderen)
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
A young man searches for meaning to his life, trying to find a place for all his philosophies and ideals. Leaving his home for another, he is faced with what it means to act out convictions versus simply discussing them.
The Sea is My Brother is author and poet Jack Kerouac‘s first novel, written in 1942 after his eight day stint as a sailor for the US Merchant Marines. Kerouac considered it to be a complete waste of time, and never sent the manuscript to publishers. In 1992, Kerouac’s brother-in
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Sea Is My Brother The Lost Novel by Jack
Kerouac (

Yes finally it is out Jack Kerouacs first novel
The Sea Is my Brother written in 1942 and finally
published in 2011, which of course begs the
question why so long, well on getting the book and
looking that it has 420 pages it couldn't be
incomplete could it, well actually it is woefully
incomplete. As just as I was getting right into
the story of Jacks time in the merchant marine the
story finishes just two days after
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am sincerely suprised at how much I liked this book. I plucked it off the "new books" shelf at the library never having heard of it before.

First, Kerouac does the right thing as an early writer. He writes from experience. I can say that I now understand the lure of living the life of a sailor. The expectations, hierarchy, comradeship, and disciplines that dominated that life and how on land a mariner is freed of those constrictions through debauchery.

Also, at the age of twenty-one Kerouac is
Steven Buechler
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great introduction to the works of Kerouac.
From Chapter One.
The Broken Bottle
"A young man, cigarette in mouth and hands in trousers' pockets, descended a short flight of brick steps leading to the foyer of an uptown Broadway hotel and turned in the direction of Riverside Drive, sauntering in a curious, slow, shuffle.
It was dusk. The warm July streets, veiled in a mist of sultriness which obsucred the sharp outlines of Broadway, swarmed with a pageant of strollers, colorful fruit stands, bus
Kathleen Luschek
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read for any Jack Kerouac fan. As a sucker for both Kerouac and nautical-themed novels, I had to pick this up. Most interesting is seeing the brilliance of the Kerouac Way starting to emerge. Even as a 21-year-old, you can see his restlessness, constant questioning and fascination with the American life start to bubble up. With lines like, “What was that sonnet where Shakespeare spoke sonorously of time ‘rooting out the work of masonry?’ Is a man to be timeless and patient, or is ...more
Kent Winward
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This being an unpublished and early novel, I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. I enjoy novels of ideas, so the political banter during the novel was tension filled and intriguing to me. Kerouac simply knows how to tell a story. He knows how to draw characters and has an enjoyable romantic streak. The book is also rich because of all the foreshadowing of Kerouac's later career. Oddly, in some ways this is more accessible than some of his later work.
Anne Daigler
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading Kerouac before he was Kerouac. The characters were a little stiff, but the story was fast paced and engaging. However, at times it almost seemed as if he was trying too hard to be a writer. I would have liked to have gotten more of a sense of brotherhood and real friendship from the characters; I didn't finish the book really believing these two men cared for each other in any real kind of way. Overall, it was a quick and comfortable read from good ol' Jack.
Jane French
I love the portrayal of characters in Kerouac's work. I read Atop an Underwood before reading this as it has an excerpt and I wanted to go back to his earliest writing style so that I wasn't expecting anything more polished. I think it's fantastic so far. The era and the sense of freedom is something I have always been drawn to. If you're a Kerouac fan, you must read this work. This edition has more early writings and letters in the back too.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great read! Not like all of Kerouac's other books. Definitely has a lot of drinking involved of course, but it's a total different style and time period. He refers a lot to what's going on in the world at the time, has character names, and exlpains more in depth the politics of the individuals that he is friends with in the book.

Very nice read, and very different from his other writings. Definitely a nice refreshment.
Christopher Newton
Might not be for everybody but I enjoyed the hell out of it. Kerouac's first novel, written at age 21. His style hasn't developed yet, but it's Jack in there - the same kind of male friends, same confusion about women, same drinking too much, same wildness, same raffish charm. It's great to be in his company again -- if you're the kind of person who likes to be in K's company.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This Jack Kerouac's first book ,recently edited and published. It's the story of a young man's first journey at sea.The book has several Kerouac themes: the search for spiritual meaning, spontaneous travel as a road to freedom,heated discussions,the longing to escape society.It also explores the differences between a man of intellect ( professor) and toughtened Merchant Mariners.
Ronald Barba
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's an incomplete work (his first novel, if it had every been published), but it gives you a really fascinating look at the development of Kerouac as a writer. It focuses on two different personalities (represented in two different main characters), both aligned with the bipolar attitudes in which Kerouac constantly found himself. A pre-/nascent "mad ones" Kerouac.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason it doesn't get 5 is because it is incomplete. A true Kerouac fan, it's interesting to see his earliest work. To me, it was a beautiful blend of Town and The City and Maggie Cassidy.
David Przybylinski
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another classic Kerouac novel dealing with his true life events turned to fiction. A thoroughly enjoyed this one as it deals with Jack's early days as a merchant marine - going to sea in the early 1940's. I would highly recommend it if you are a Kerouac fan.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not quite the "crock of shit literature" that he envisioned it was; a real precursor to the sense of Kerouac that resides in his other novels, particularly with the themes of brotherhood, loneliness and what it is to have value in a world so vast and vague.
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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.

More about Jack Kerouac...
“Does this mean that frontiers from now on are to be in the imagination?” 12 likes
“To make the sea your own, to watch over it, to brood your very soul into it, to accept it and love it as though only it mattered and existed.” 12 likes
More quotes…