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Visions of Cody Paperback – August 1, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
Incidentally, Kerouac did not intend for this to be a companion to On the Road. If the author had had it his way, this would have been the definitive version of On the Road.
Most readers agree that the first 150 pages is by far the best writing in this book. Read this section, even if you put the book down for good afterward. These 150 pages are pure, loose, and brilliant. Kerouac sketching unequaled by any other part of his oeuvre.
As with all Kerouac books, this one has its faults. The middle 200 pages are overwrought and self-indulgent. But that can be said of most of Kerouac's work. The tape transcripts are important reading if you want a first-hand account of the dynamic that existed between Jack and Neal. But this section could have been shortened substantially. Also, for every perfect sentence, there are ten that fall flat--examples of how the spontaneous prose technique had its drawbacks. But no writer is great all the time. And Kerouac's sporadic greatness more than makes up for the notes he doesn't quite hit.
For those new to Kerouac's work, you would be better off reading The Subterraneans first just to get acclamated to the spontaneous prose style. Even then, it will be tough going. But you read Kerouac for more than the storytelling. Faithful Kerouac readers cite the author's inventiveness, his fearlessness, and his unwavering devotion to the written word.Read more ›
1. Get a couple of Charley Parker albums (Bird and Diz will do nicely.)
2. Procure a jug of red wine and a joint.
3. Put on Bird, pour a glass of wine, and just relax with the music for a while.
4. Take a few tokes. Drink more wine. Get a nice mellow buzz.
5. NOW, begin reading the tape transcripts, and voila! You are invited to the party!
You will be sitting there with Cassidy and Kerouac, digging the flow of music and conversation and experiencing a new comprehension of their friends, wives and lovers. The gossip, the stories, the subtle oneupmanship between them is a delicious fly-on-the wall experience. By recreating the set and setting of these long ago conversations, you will experience an intimacy that is uncanny. I've done this a few times and was amazed at the greater understanding I had of these two complicated men. I read and re-read the transcripts with delight and was sorry there wasn't more of them.
This is surely what Kerouac intended. It's like the modern day extras and behind the scenes specials you get on movie DVDs. I mourn their passing more than ever and the fact that there doesn't appear to be anyone out there to take their place.
Ever wonder why Hollywood depictions of the Beats are laughable failures? HERE'S why.
The book includes much that is wonderful and much that is exasperating. There is no continuous plot but rather a stream of threads influenced by Proust, among other writers. Much of the book is written in a ranting, stream-of-consciousness style that Kerouac later named "spontaneous prose". Sentences and paragraphs often are long and wandering; words are invented or used in strange ways. The book can be highly difficult to follow. The lives of the protagonists and the vision of a past America connect the story.
Kerouac had an extraordinary eye for painstaking description as shown in much of this book. He paints pictures of diverse places that he or Cody knew, such as Lowell, New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Texas, Mexico City, and towns and rural areas of the Midwest. He offers a portrait of intimate streets, jazz clubs, railroads leading everywhere, fast cars on pre-freeway roads, poolhalls, small diners. The book is full of pot, alcohol, and drugs and raw sexual depictions and terms. There are many short, effective character studies. The book also develops idealized, romanticized pictures of the two main characters, Cody and the narrator.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many don't know this book was an alternate version of "On the Road " according to Kerouac. Reading it under this context was interesting and enjoyable.Published 2 months ago by Gregg Taylor Banter author of Wolves and Wildflowers
At first he loses you. There is no connection. Than towards the end of the book it starts to make some sense.Published 8 months ago by nicole
VISIONS OF CODY hit me with the usual Kerouac tropes: a deep love for humanity + a rather unconventional (or according to literary snobs, 'improper') methodology to his writing +... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Johnny Blaze
Hey, its Jack Kerouac who has an unusual style of writing for the most part. Such a unique way of expressing himself in such a personal manner. Read morePublished 10 months ago by donald a.
"Visions of Cody" is a classic and "required reading" for all Kerouac lovers and a study in writing for all "writer hopefuls."Published on November 22, 2013 by Janet Panos
Yeah, this one is for the die-hards. I love Kerouac, but there so much of Cody that is just speed-induced gibberish. First 100 pages--GOLD. Read morePublished on March 27, 2013 by Muskrat
I was really looking forward to this book. I wanted to see Kerouac's vision of his best friend. How he really felt about Neal Cassady and how their relationship was when the book... Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Maria