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The Subterraneans Paperback – January 27, 1994
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"The first clear development of the American Romantic prose since Hemingway, Kerouac's writing is full of mad sex, comedy, widescreen travel writing, and long lyrical evocations of American childhood and adolescent memories."The Times (London)
"Kerouac's work represents the most extensive experiment in language and literary form undertaken by an American writer of his generation."Ann Douglas
"Each book by Kerouac is unique, a telepathic discord. Such rich, natural writing is nonpareil in the later twentieth century."Allen Ginsberg
"An outsider in America, Jack Kerouac was a true original."Ann Charters
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book tells the story of the love, and its end, between Leo Percepied, the Kerouac character, and Mardou Fox. Mardou is half Cherokee and half black. She has grown up in poverty in Oakland and has suffered serious emotional breakdowns. She has gone from lover to lover among the Bohemia of San Fransisco until she meets up with Leo.
The book shows some of Kerouac's understanding of his own character. He describes himself (page 1) as both an "unself-confident man" and as an "egomaniac". A few pages later (page 3) he confesses that "I am crudely malely sexual and cannot help myself and have lecherous and so on propensities as almost all my male readers no doubt are the same."
The Subterraneans are a group of hipsters, aspiring artists, drop-outs, con men who inhabit that bars and streets of San Fransiscon graphically described in this book. The book is full of mean streets, cold water flats, alleys, run-down stores, cheap bars, late evenings, pushcarts, and sad mornings.
Leo is initally sexually attracted to Mardou. When he learns and listens to her he truly falls in love. She is indeed a lovable character. The picture of the love is convincing. Unfortunately Leo/Kerouac remained throughout his life a mother's boy. Mardou tells him, properly and sensibly "Leo, I don't think it good for you to live with your mother always" (p47) Leo nonetheless can't part from his mother. He also has doubts about his ability to commit to a black woman, particularly given the prejudice of his mother and sister.Read more ›
It is definitely a quick read, however, and of course Kerouac's less than great books are still better than so many other books out there. I'd recommend taking it out of a library or getting it used, though.
It is a snapshot of three days in the life of Leo Percepied (Kerouac) and perhaps its greatest value lies in its demystification of beat culture. Kerouac isn't finding buddha here, he's finding his inadequacies. "this is the story of an unself-confident man"(page 1).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book. I have read it on paper dozens of time (no lie). So I wanted to be able to read it without carrying the book around (my bag is hard on books, especially 2nd-hand... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sharon Griffiths
An even more compressed melange of bop-soul imagery and romantic assemblage of hip 50s characters than On the Road, The Subterraneans smokes with a desperate fury and good-time... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Chris Robideaux
This book is a collection of words of warning and also a spyglass look into an authors view of his current world. Read morePublished 21 months ago by a. angelo rhys
This Kerouac work does not enthrall like On the Road but is still vintage Kerouac and provides an interesting insight towards his view of relationships.Published 23 months ago by Philip J. Wasilausky