On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in On the Road have real-world counterparts.
When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance" of Kerouac's generation. The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
Another novel that I've been trying to get a copy of for ages, and finally have. It was definitely worth the wait for it. I'm halfway through this as well, but I'm not unduly concerned about spoilers, so just don't give too much away.
There are a few things that I really enjoy about this novel. Like the summary says, it characterizes a generation, and those kinds of works are always neat to read. It's a lot like how The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test characterized the hippie movement of the sixties. And as an added connection between the two, Dean Moriarty is heavily inspired by Neal Cassady, who went on to be one of the Merry Pranksters in Acid Test. I would love to do a road trip like this someday.
Would anyone else care to contribute?