Isolation Read #37

Some gigantic sexual drive was behind these futile long smooches, sometimes our teeth’d grind, our mouths burn from interchanged spittle, our lips blister, bleed, chap – We were scared.

Saw it on the bookshelf and just had to go back through this, to my mind. the most empathetic of Kerouac’s novels. An easy 200 pages on the 16/17 year old Kerouac avatar, Jacky (Zagg) Dulouz falling in love for the first time in hometown Lowell, Mass. There’s all the working family stuff and his mother at home and going to church and him hanging out with his gang, and working out for ‘track meets’ – Kerouac was a star athlete at school – all through the deep snow and ice of the winter of 1939 just before the US became involved in the war.

The wind howled and moaned at the hinges; it was huge snow storms we’d pass there, the great gale of snows would whip past the plate-glass windows in one horizontal wild line from Canada coming, from the Sweeps of Baffin Bay – and we were alone in the club. Nobody else would think of going to such a beat old shack – it was for local winos of Cheever and the river bank…the loose old boards through which the blizzard cold seeped in but the stove held out, the old man stoked it, stocked it and kicked it, he knew how to make a fire like he knew how to eat.

The writing is guileless and free, it rolls off the page, you can hear the accents and cadences of the different French and Greek first languages. The way he wrote is a joy to be immersed in…

…and of course, like most teenage love, it passes.

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