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Visions of Gerard: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140144528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140144529
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

More About the Author

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
There are lovely passages of innocence and anger, love and grief.
karl b.
I haven't read ALL of this book yet, but what I have read has proved to be, so far, one of the most beautiful, melancholy stories my eyes have ever graced.
lonelight
Kerouac does bring Buddhist into the mix and at times I'm not sure where he is going with it, but you want to follow him and see where he well go next.
William Bradford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Angry Mofo on June 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm not quite sure how to react. Yes, if you're reading this you already know that this is a book about Kerouac's older brother who died at age nine, but that doesn't do any kind of job of telling you what the book is like. Kerouac's style is so...odd. At times it is absolutely, maddeningly impenetrable. At others, it's absolutely beautiful. At others, you get the feeling of reading a first draft of who knows what. At others still, you get the feeling of reading a really beautiful poem with breathtaking imagery. And it never feels like artiness for the sake of self-indulgence. One thing is certain, though - there's a deep and undeniable sadness buried within this book, one that leaves quite a mark when one gets to it through all the barriers, language and others. "Like a load of rocks dumped from a truck onto a little kitty, the pitiful inescapability of death and the pain of death, and it will happen to the best and all and most beloved of us..." (67) I'm not sure what to make of the whole thing, in all honesty. I think I may have to read this book over again in order to go even deeper. In the meantime, you should read it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1997
Format: Paperback
Beautifully poetic, Kerouac remembers his brother, Gerard, who died when Kerouac was very young. Birds perch on window sills, while Gerard talks to them, contemplates the world, questions war and wonders why a God would allow anything to die. Kerouac pays homage in short beautiful chapters, which I read over and over again, before turning to the next one. Kerouac blends his Catholic upbringing, with his Buddhist adulthood, and makes one of the most uniquely poetic and religious novels of the 20th Century
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sesho on June 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the earliest chapter in Kerouac's autobiography/novel series. It is a novel that celebrates childhood but not innocence. There is a sense that Kerouac believes, like William Blake, that innocence cannot truly exist on the plane of existence without being destroyed. His brother is portrayed as a Christ of sorts who touches everyone around him with an aura of goodness. As is usual with a Kerouac work, there is no summary that does justice to his novels. The problem with most of them is that the narrator is so prevalent that no other characters seem to develop or have a consciousness outside of his viewpoint. But this novel does not suffer from this weakness. For once he is focused on a character other than himself. With Kerouac, there also comes a paradoxical joy in life and also the sad knowledge that we all will die sooner or later. The only complaint I had about this book was that it was too short. But I guess the same can be said about life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Kerouac's work for years. This was perhaps the last of his books that I read. What struck me immediately was Jack's vulnerability, more pronounced than in any other of his works. This is the story of a childhood wronged by the passing of a loved sibling, and I could only sit and think of my own young life, and the death of one of my siblings whom I loved with all my heart. This speaks to anyone who knew the poignancy of pain while young. It is, on one side, a narrative of the causes behind one's own personal declines; on the other side, a prosaical examination of a boy's angelic regard for the kindness of his brother. I loved this book, just as I love all of Kerouac's works. But this single work seems to exemplify Jack's most beautiful side...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Gause on October 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this novel, written between ON THE ROAD and DHARMA BUMS, Thomas Wolfe's influence on Kerouac's style is keenly felt. Haunting elaborations on scene and setting, branching off into Beat perfect interior monologues are all arrows pointing to Gerard the Angel, Gerard the holy savant. Great, uniquely Kerouac scenes find Emil, the father, drinking with vaudeville buddies. These passages howl with card game hip flasks and midnight fire escapes, and provide a nice break from the weight of the loss everyone awaits. When it comes, we each have the heart that breaks. The novel ends abruptly, as it should, as if to illustrate how ill-prepared we all are facing the end. Kerouac's free jazz interpretation of Wolfe here seems the perfect style for his (almost) inexplicable loss. The "first draft" feel of passages are actually a strength in that they both exemplify Kerouac's unique flair and reach the reader as the disjointed thoughts and feelings that arise in the midst of suffering. We feel the pain in broken passages and the sometimes illogical structure, but Kerouac uses these in such a way as to actually heighten our experience of his tale. It is a gamble that the author, I believe, ultimately wins.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Of all the writers of the twentieth century, this guy, Jack Kerouac, spoke most eloquently to me in my teen years. Visions of Gerard was the first of his books that I read. Whatever else one thinks of the author, it must be noted that in this book there is a sweetness rarely matched elswhere.
Kerouac has a talent for uncovering the true secret serenity that lies waiting behind the pointless muchness and manyness that often occupies our time as we toil under the sun.
Kerouac's love for his brother is palpable in the pages of this book. The beautiful poetry of Kerouac's prose is like the free flow of a fountain sounding forth admiration and love for Gerard.
Kerouac's Buddhism permeates the story as well. What I once found fascinating, I now regard as misguided. Although Kerouac failed, as we all must, to understand many of the inescapable twists and turns people encounter in life, ("Samsara" in Buddhism) and although he ultimately drowned in the "stuff" of life, this book shows that he had a spirit free from the poison of hate. This, I must admit, is not only noble, but worthy of emulation.
Altogether, I believe that Visions of Gerard contains a good deal of beauty and much that is admirable in character. It is a book worth checking out.
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