Customer Reviews for

Desolation Angels

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2006

    Ground-breaking

    Better than ON THE ROAD, this book should be more touted than any other for its beautiful prose and insight. Surely it paved the way for modern classics such as 'Bright Lights, Big City' and the ever-popular 'Katzenjammer' by McCrae---both with their wonderful twisted prose and weird look at life. DESOLATION ANGELS is, by far, Kerouac's best work. It follows him from Washington to his 'downfall' where he is forced to clean up his life, the journey and the words will stick with you long after you've closed the covers on this wonderful novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2005

    One of the top 5 books I have read

    'Desolation Angels' is a book that appraoches literary perfection. While 'On the Road' is the book that most people associate Jack Kerouac with, I actually liked 'Desolation Angels' better, simply because it vividly showed a major transitional period in Kerouac's life. Starting with him alone on a mountain top in Washington, and ending with his falling out with old friends and attempt to clean up his life, this book delves into Kerouac's psyche in an unforgettable way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    One of my all-time favorites

    Contrary to others' opinions I feel this book is true Kerouac. On the Road is great, yes, but life can't exist in such a continious burning state - Kerouac discovered that...he discovered solitude, loneliness, truth...this book is his real spiritual truth declared to the world. And his honesty will break your heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    Kerouac's True Enlightenment

    Boiling off testosterone induced hysteria of crazy road days Kerouac finds himself a shell of what he once touted to be. Beauty floats to the surface when Hercules finds disillusion beyond premature disillusion. Genius unravels on the page through the chronicled free thought of a beat Beat. Slow, reflective, and spontaneous while still maintaining paradox and acidic perception Kerouac's 'Desolation Angels' is the crown jewel of his risky literary history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2001

    Thinking Too Much Can Be Dangerous

    Some readers find 'Desolation Angels' a much more difficult 'read' than 'On The Road,' 'The Dharma Bums' or some of Kerouac's earlier works, and there's a good reason for that. He employed a different method here, a more meticulous one. His earlier works were written 'on the fly' and more or less off the top of his head. The idea was to achieve some sort of literary equivalent of a jazz saxophone solo. 'On The Road,' in fact, was famously created on a continuous roll of butcher paper, so that Kerouac wouldn't have to interrupt himself to change sheets of paper in the typewriter, and he wrote the whole thing in one continuous paragraph. 'Desolation Angels' was culled in large part directly from Kerouac's journals. He wasn't typing off the top of his head; he was deliberately recopying and refining thoughts and impressions that he had written down elsewhere. The prose is gnarlier and more dense as a result, and more difficult to read. I agree that there is a sad, burned-out quality to the book. One line that leapt out at me when I was reading it was, 'Sad understanding is what compassion means. I resign from the attempt to be happy.' Obviously Kerouac had something of a dark night of the soul up there on Desolation Peak that summer, but he came down off the mountain at summer's end and re-embraced life. 'Desolation Angels' may be less fun to read than Kerouac's breezier early works, but anyone seeking to understand the man should make the effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2000

    Lustless For Life

    Published in the later years of Kerouac's life this novel has the feel of being written by a disillusioned man. A man who is at war with himself between the need for solitude and the need of companionship. Between being a wandering monk and a figure who longs for the comforts of home. In his language this novel has glimpses of the energy of his earlier work, but the novel seems tired and exhausted. Kerouac can no longer sustain the need to 'burn' as he did in On The Road. In this novel he seems to be flickering out. The true Kerouac can be found in the earlier books. The Kerouac contained in this work is simply a figure of disentigration, not of hope and adventure, but boredom of the world and a wish for death. Not for the happy go lucky roadtrippers.

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    Posted June 19, 2009

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    Posted January 26, 2009

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