Reprinted with gratitude
from Levi's splendid website, www.litkicks.com
From the late forties
to the beginning of the sixties, Jack Kerouac chronicled almost every
important event of his life in his novels. He began with the collegiate
and post-collegiate adventures of The Town and the City and On The Road
and continued with the soul-searching journeys of Dharma Bums and 'Desolation
Angels' and the sordid romantic misadventures of 'The Subterraneans.'
'Big Sur' marks the end of this fifteen-year cycle.
It takes place during
the summer of 1960, and by the end of this summer Kerouac's mental state
will have deteriorated so badly that he can no longer subject himself
to the hot spotlight of his own introspection.
Like F. Scott Fitzgerald,
Kerouac was able to write about his crack-up almost as it was taking
place. This is one of his best books; it even received decent reviews
from the literary critics of that age, who loved to trash anything Kerouac
wrote. Unfortunately, the nervous breakdown that this book describes
was real. Kerouac lived for eight years after the events of this book,
but he did not allow himself to ever write as honestly about anything
again. This is the last book by the Kerouac who tried for enlightenment,
who still believed there was hope for his soul.