On the Road

  • by Jack Kerouac
  • Narrated by Matt Dillon
  • 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sal Paradise, a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream.
A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion. One of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, On the Road is the book that launched the beat generation and remains the bible of that literary movement.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good reading of an awful story

Maybe I missed the point of this entirely and there were some beautiful thoughts and moments, some of which will stick with me but really this was just an endless dull tale.

It was really a long ramble which could end with an apologetic 'guess you had to be there' as we follow Sal (Kerouac) on his journeys frequently in search of or joined by Dean (Cassady) this, for me, was unfortunate because I could not stand Dean, he came across as terrible human being in whom Sal is completely disillusioned. I much preferred the cameos from other beats but was instead dragged along with Sal and Dean.

As I said I may be missing the point entirely but the discovery of self was really just a glorified bumming across the country avoiding any sense of responsibility and that got tiring quickly, this is the most effort I've experienced in trying to finish a book in a long long time.
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- Mr. Sam McCallum

No Sunset on this Era

I have long meant to read this book but I had resisted in case it didn't live up to its legendary status. In the end, I think it was the fact that Matt Dillon was to narrate it that persuaded me to take the plunge. I now feel vindicated on two scores; first, the legend is alive and well and, secondly, Dillon was a terrific narrator.
There's no point spending too much time on the plot. The listener needs to experience it with Sal Paradise, with the words blowing through your mind like wind through your hair and the drug of sex and excitement invading your imagination like the drugs that invade Sal's system. It is the seminal "Road" tale populated with huge characters like Dean Moriarty and Marylou, his "little sharp chick", the Frenchman poet, Remi, Carlo Marx (poet and adulterer), Montana Slim and "Big Ed" Dunkel. Sal, it seems, is a metaphor for Kerouac and you can trace the rest of the characters through the many reminiscences written about this work by the characters themselves. But, in my opinion, the story is not the main thing. It's the living of it that makes it eternal. I found it a bit like looking back on a fond, but now past, phase of my life (not that my was ever as eventful as Sal's). It has that intimate feel of your own personal memories. I wrote a lot of notes about it to write this review, but most of them are just not important enough to mention, although they seemed important at the time. Again, these are like the events in the book.
Returning to Dillon, really there is not much to say. He captures the book's racy sexuality, the atmosphere of a jazz age and and a youth that was looking for something that is too elusive to capture. There were times when he brought to mind Springsteen ("Lost in the Flood", "Backstreets") and at other times Van Morrison ("Coney Island"). Musical and noisy.
I enjoyed this journey.
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- Ian C Robertson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-16-2006
  • Publisher: Audible Studios