Desolation Angels (Paperback)
Penguin Books, 9781573225052, 416pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 1995
Originally published in 1965, this autobiographical novel covers a key year in Jack Kerouac's life—the period that led up to the publication of On the Road in September of 1957. After spending two months in the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington, Kerouac's fictional self Jack Duluoz comes down from the isolated mountains to the wild excitement of the bars, jazz clubs, and parties of San Francisco, before traveling on to Mexico City, New York, Tangiers, Paris, and London. Duluoz attempts to extricate himself from the world but fails, for one must "live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry." Desolation Angels is quintessential Kerouac.
About the Author
Praise For Desolation Angels…
—Dan Wakefield, The Atlantic
"One of the most true, comic, and grizzly journeys in American literature."
"Kerouac was a breath of fresh air when he came on the literary scene. He was also a force, a tragedy, a triumph, and an ongoing influence, and that influence is still with us."
"Kerouac ... defines the sensibilites of members of his own subgeneration: we knew them as wearing such guises as the Beat Generation, the Subterraneans, the Dharma Bums; now we see them as Desolation Angels, sadly pursuing their empty futilities..."
"Each book by Kerouac is unique, a telepathic discord. Such rich natural writing is nonpareil in later 20th century, a synthesis of Proust, Celine, Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway, Genet, Thelonius Monk, Basho, Charlie Parker and Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer' as his great peer William S. Burroughs says."