Desolation Angels: A Novel

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Open Road Media, Mar 22, 2016 - Fiction - 409 pages
A young man searches for meaning, creates art, and grapples with fame in this semiautobiographical Beat Generation classic by the author of On the Road.

This urgently paced yet deeply introspective novel closely tracks Jack Kerouac’s own life. Jack Duluoz journeys from the Cascade Mountains to San Francisco, Mexico City, New York, and Tangier. While working as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the Cascades, Duluoz contemplates his inner void and the distressing isolation brought on by his youthful sense of adventure. In Tangier he suffers a similar feeling of desperation during an opium overdose, and in Mexico City he meets up with a morphine-addicted philosopher and seeks an antidote to his solitude in a whorehouse.

As in Kerouac’s other novels, Desolation Angels features a lively cast of pseudonymous versions of his fellow Beat poets, including William S. Burroughs (as Bull Hubbard), Neal Cassady (as Cody Pomeray), and Allen Ginsberg (as Irwin Garden). Duluoz draws readers into the trials and tribulations of these literary iconoclasts—from drug-fueled writing frenzies and alcoholic self-realizations to frenetic international road trips and tumultuous love affairs. Achieving literary success comes with its own consequences though, as Duluoz and his friends must face the scrutiny that comes with rising to the national stage.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Robert_R._Mitchell - LibraryThing

Desolation Angels is heaven and hell and the world and America and the Void and his Mom. Kerouac/Duluoz is a despicable, noble, earnest, loving, whiny, brilliant, loyal, weak, irreplaceable, insane ... Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

Kerouac's Desolation Angels may be dealt with quickly. It's a long prose-poem in the form of a memoir-novel, in which the author (calling himself, as he's done elsewhere, Jack Duluoz) explores three ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) was an American writer best known for his novel On the Road. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac attended Columbia University. Along with his friends, including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady, Kerouac was a key figure in the counterculture movement known as the Beat Generation. He wrote his first novel, The Town and the City, about his struggle to balance the expectations of his family with his unconventional life. Kerouac took several cross-country trips with Cassady, which became the basis for On The Road. He published several more novels including Doctor Sax, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, and his final great work, Big Sur. He settled with his mother and his wife, Stella Sampas, in Florida, where he died in 1969 at age forty-seven.

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