Kerouac’s Lonely Victory

Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters is one of those must read books if you are at all interested in Kerouac and the Beats. It is a work that sparkles with intelligence and is written in a clear and muscular prose. So you can imagine I was bubbling with excitement when I read recently that Johnson is due to release a second book about her life with Kerouac titled, The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac.

Described as a, “revelatory portrayal of Kerouac not only in the midst of his tumultuous existence in postwar Manhattan and his fateful encounters with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady and John Clellon Holmes, but in the periods of solitude, frustrating struggle and visionary inspiration that produced his work,” The Voice is All looks primarily at the first 30 years of Kerouac’s life and is said to shine new light on his legendary ‘spontaneous prose’ and the composition of On the Road.

It’s available now through Amazon and other outlets, but why not go down and knock on your local’s door and ask them to ship it in. They will love you for it!

This book will no doubt continue the resurgence of interest in Kerouac and with the recent cinema release of On the Road and the forthcoming the film adaptations of Big Sur and The Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks (titled ‘Kill Your Darlings‘ and featuring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg), his words are bound to make their mark on generations to come.


Filed under poetry & publishing

7 responses to “Kerouac’s Lonely Victory

  1. Max Manke

    Thanks for the info, I hadn’t heard of Joyce Johnson and as a Kerouac admirer, I will definitely look into that.

    What did you think about the On the road film?

    I think it failed to capture the energy of the book, especially the original scroll. Neal’s non-stop talking machine gun style about time, eternity and such whilst hunched over the wheel and racing across the prairie are what makes the book great, and this vision of Neal (which I can’t get out of my head, and which is a recurring element in the original scroll) is what really makes the book great. There was almost no conversation in the film, at least in very little depth. I was a bit disappointed I must say, might even attempt to write a script for On the Road myself at some point, “just for kicks”. The casting also wasn’t great, I think a young Jon Hamm would have been perfect as Paradise and there must be someone like that around (one can only hope). Hopefully Big Sur will capture more of the vibe of the beats, and focus more on the words rather than the landscapes.

    • gnunn

      Hi Max,

      Am yet to see On the Road, but many others have made the same criticism – too much landscape, not enough words… When I think of the novel (and the scroll), it always strikes me that it would be very difficult to capture the energy of Kerouac’s prose. Good to see there’s a resurgence in interest though.

      You should definitely check out Joyce Johnson. Minor Characters is a must read. A classic really… So can’t wait to get my hands on this new one.



      • Max Manke

        Will do. And I dig your boycotting of amazon… I had spent far too much dosh on that site before I realised there are better ways to expand one’s library. Looking over my post, I see that it’s not very coherent, but I guess that happens to the best of us (I first met met Neal…). Good to see you are into Kerouac too.

      • gnunn

        Jack has always been a driving force Max. Desolation Angels was the book that started it all for me. Hope your Saturday has been luxurious, G

  2. sounds like an awesome book…thanks for the great hint graham

  3. yes.. what they al said.
    i just finished reading On the Road few month back. didn’t know there was a film. will look for it now.

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