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In the spring of 1943, twenty-one-year old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. A clear precursor to such landmark works as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that hints at the hallmarks of classic ...
In the spring of 1943, twenty-one-year old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. A clear precursor to such landmark works as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that hints at the hallmarks of classic Kerouac: the search for spiritual meaning in a materialistic world, spontaneous travel as the true road to freedom, late nights in bars engaged in intense conversation, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness.
“A Jack Londonesque yarn.”
Publishers Weekly, 1/30/12
“While it may not be the Rosetta Stone of the beat movement, the publication of this flawed manuscript will be an event for [Kerouac’s] admirers.”
“Read this first effort to watch Kerouac learning the ropes.”
Entertainment Weekly, 3/2/12
“You'll see hints of the bebop prose that would later pour out of Kerouac's typewriter so effortlessly.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/11/12
“Rarely does talking seem as much like action as it does in The Sea Is My Brother. The characters' words fire the imagination. If they don't move you, to quote Louis Jordan, ‘Jack, you dead’ There is a song inside The Sea Is My Brother, a song for anyone who has ever looked over the horizon and thought, ‘I'm gonna get out of here someday.’”
“For a glimpse of Kerouac crossing the boundary from boy to man, fans can now turn to his first novel.”
Wall Street Journal, 3/20/12
“[The Sea Is My Brother] offers plenty of disarming insights into who Kerouac was as a person and writer before he slipped behind the mask of Beat Generation Zen-master...The book is enjoyable”
“The Sea is My Brother is a fascinating read, both in its own right and as part of Kerouac’s canon.”
New YorkPost, 3/18/12
“There are plenty of hints of the Kerouac to come.”
“[The Sea is My Brother] is perhaps the best of the posthumous releases....Could be considered the skeleton that would become gems."
Huffington Post, 3/23/12
“Fans of the On the Road author will be fascinated by the glimpse into Kerouac’s early writing mind.”
January Magazine, 3/22/12
“For his admirers and students of his style, the book is a worthwhile read.”
National Post (Canada), 3/25/12
“A foreshadowing of Kerouac at his best, a kind of sweet, unassuming persona that made his writing very engaging.”
“I loved Kerouac’s first novel, The Sea Is My Brother [It] left me with that feeling that life is full of poems, pain, colorful characters, and small moments that matter.”
MilwaukeeShepherd Express, 4/12/12
“The Sea is My Brother is chock-full of pathos, anticipation and hurt. Kerouac’s characters, including the small role players, are a perfect blend of real people living real lives. It was a brilliant, youthful performance by the author, years before he changed the pace of literature with On the Road.”
ChicagoNew City, 4/16/12
“A captivating preview into the author—and his works—to be
A complete story, romantic, energetic, exuberant and even brash, qualities Kerouac never outgrew.”
CharlestonPost & Courier, 5/27/12
“The fascination, and perhaps the value of this book, is that it presents itself as a clear precursor to the books that followed. Given Kerouac’s subsequent impact, it is an important artifact in the popular literature of the time.”
Key WestNews, 6/10/12
“There is none of the jazzy, hepcat language of his mature novels here, more the mannered, measured words of the immature. Yet this first novel already has the uncanny effect that the reader dwells inside what the writer is singing.”
The New York Times Book Review, 7/1/12
“This ’lost novel’ signals what was to come Kerouac scholars will be fascinated by this early work”
Posted March 25, 2012
This was Kerouac's first go at a novel. It was left largely unfinished. But it's rough and raw in all the ways that classic Kerouac should be.
For a big fan, this book quintessential political, rollicking, and philosophy talking, travel tail. It shows Kerouac's pure intentions with little embellishment. Now, had it been the novel published 14 years later it would have, without doubt, been a literary gem. Kerouac's style was only developing when he wrote this but without the practice On The Road, Big Sur, and The Dharma Bums would never have come to be written with such supreme class, style and honesty that defines Kerouac.
Also, I'm the first review: How cool is that?
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Posted December 7, 2012
Kerouac's lost first novel reads just like that, a first/lost novel. It will become a decade later in his life when he will become the writer that inspired a generation, including Bobby Dylan. He was 21 when he wrote this. Anyways, it was good enough to finish on a cold evening!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.