ALthough Jack Kerouac is best known for the experimental, jazz-like prose and the rebel heroes of On the Road, his classic coming-of-age novel, The Town and the City, is no less compelling. It is a highly autobiographical work, large in scope and charged with energy, clearly conveying Kerouac's view of himself as a visionary artist and a member of a new generation.
Inspired by his idol, Thomas Wolfe, Kerouac explores the emotional territory of his boyhood through the five sons and three daughters of the Martin family. Growing up in a dying Massachusetts mill town, the young Martins must come to terms with their father's bankruptcy and World War II as they search for their own identities in the post-war years. Kerouac's own portrait is apparant in three of the sons: Joe, the wild risk taker; Francis, the intellectual and cynic; and Peter, the football player and independent thinker. In the end, it is Peter who drops out of college and begins atrip across America, a harbinger of On the Road.
About the Author:
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), was born Jean-Luis Lebris de Kerouac and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. A novelist and poet with eighteen books to his credit, Kerouac's unique voice is most clearly heard in his second book, On the Road, whose rebel heroes are also immortalized in Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Doctor Sax, Lonesome Traveler, and The Subterraneans. He is widely considered the preeminent prose stylist of the Beat generation.