Recently found myself surprised by how much he wrote. I've read Bartleby and Moby Dick but does anyone have any comments on his other work? The Confidence Man, Redburn or White-Jacket for example?
They only barely managed. Caroline Cassady's Off The Road is a pretty damning portrait of how many illegitimate children Jack + Neal fathered, how many cars they stole, how many women they lied to. Awful human beings.Me too, Neal Cassady is such an insufferable dick in that book, you wonder how anyone could have ever put up with him.
that's not reviewing, it's dismissingThere is a film of On The Road where they do just come across as absolute wankers - I'm not sure it was a deliberate take though, I just think that all but the very blind can't help but see those people that way.
But in lukewarm defence of the book, I do totally agree with whoever said "That's not writing, it's typing" cos it pretty much was that and that's its strength and weakness. Strength in that as a blast of over-excited speed addled typing done in a single session (or whatever) it has a naive power to get that across albeit one over impressed with itself. But yeah that kind of writing will never have depth or nuance. And, as soon as you pause to think, hang on, what about the others involved and who are actually real people, not just background characters in the Dean Moriarty Show - as soon as that occurs to you then it's done.
Btw, this is not a criticism of Matt's book which I am thoroughly enjoying precisely because he treats all these dodgy countercultural icons with the respect they genuinely deserve, while not being over-generous to them. Strikes a good balance.