As he travels, he dreads any remembrances of his life as it used to be in England, with the woman he loved obsessively and...lost...but how?
So, as he is "going on" whether meandering, staggering or marching, through encounters with patronizing humiliation, violence, and some unexpected friendship, his stubborn, hurt mind flashes back to the past reality ("never go backwards!").
But slowly, inevitably, the going on and going back come together in an astonishing conclusion. In the wild wonderful space of Big Sur, amid the beauty of sea and rocks, he has to confront the truth of this tender, yearning love story.
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REVIEW of 'GOING ON' By Joyce Howard This is the story of a man, an Englishman¿ erudite, brilliant, acutely perceptive of the emotions and actions of both himself and others¿who, after a crushing disappointment in love says 'No!' to life. He becomes a derelict, living in squalor and filth and most of the time in a drunken stupor in Los Angeles. Then one day he forces himself to 'go on'. He starts walking north up the Coast of California. As he does and much against his will, memories of his civilized life in England¿which up to now he has managed to suppress¿keep intruding. Beautifully written in compelling lyrical prose, Howard has recorded the emotions, thoughts and actions of a homeless man more clearly than someone who, in actuality, has been a derelict. It is an extraordinary characterization. One can't help hoping that as he makes his way up the Coast each strikingly brutal and strikingly beautiful life experience that he undergoes will give this thinking, intellectual, civilized man ¿who loved not wisely but too well¿the opportunity to undergo a transformation which will enable him to say 'Yes!' to life again. However, he prefers to act as he chooses¿at least he thinks he does¿until LIFE itself intervenes once more! I have, many times, travelled (not on foot!) up the Coast to Big Sur. I have never seen it's natural beauty with such clarity as I have on reading 'Going On.' After reading 'Going On' I doubt if anyone, on seeing a homeless person, will not pause and ask themselves¿how come? Laguna Beach Reader.