Monday, January 21, 2013

Book News: 'The Voice is All' by Joyce Johnson

As an undergrad, I considered creating an independent study of the Beat Generation.  It would consist of classes of American history, American literature, Buddhism, and Women and Gender Studies.  

I didn't follow through with the idea, and I'm glad I didn't because I realized that I was fascinated by the culture of the Beat Generation but baffled by its literary works.  Except for Joyce Johnson's Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir and Carolyn Cassady's Off the Road, I don't recall finishing an entire novel written by an author of the beat generation, and that's despite having multiple rows on my bookshelves dedicated to the generation's writers.  

My fascination and bafflement has fused into a mild queasiness, yet that fascination still lingers. 

So when I saw the article in the New York Times about Joyce Johnson's new book about Jack Kerouac, The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac, I had to take a look.  

Reading the brief description of Kerouac's sexual exploits with Neal Cassady as the ringmaster and spectator muffled the flame of fascination back down into the mild queasiness.  

I do not know how the book stands in terms of research and writing quality, but because of the content, I think I'll take a pass on this one.  

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