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Extended Audio Sample Big Sur, by Jack Kerouac Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,624 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack Kerouac Narrator: Grover Gardne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Big Sur was written some time after Kerouac’s best-known work, following a visit to northern California and the first ravages of midlife crisis. Kerouac stayed for several weeks in a cabin in Big Sur and with friends in San Francisco. Upon returning to Florida, he wrote this account in a two-week period.

Coming down from his carefree youth, Kerouac undertakes a mature confrontation of some of his most troubling emotional issues. The book reveals Kerouac’s burgeoning problem with alcoholism and the mental duress aggravated by his unwanted fame. Degenerating into addiction, fear, and insecurity, he dutifully records his ever-changing states of consciousness, which culminate in a powerful religious experience. Critic Richard Meltzer referred to Big Sur as Kerouac’s “masterpiece, and one of the great, great works of the English language.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • Big Sur is a humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac…At the peak of his suffering humorous genius, he wrote through his misery to end with ‘Sea,’ a brilliant poem appended on the hallucinatory sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur.”

    Allen Ginsberg

  • Big Sur is so devastatingly honest and painful and yet so beautifully written…He was sharing his pain and suffering with the reader in the same way Dostoyevsky did, with the idea of salvation through suffering.”

    David Amram 

  • “For a narrator [this book] contains extraordinary difficulties, for the writing flies off into inebriated, overly long sentences that reflect, describe, or just babble forward in a kind of free association. To keep such passages flowing while making sense out of them is no mean feat. [Grover Gardner] pulls it off…He even manages to sound as if he were enjoying himself.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Todd Johnson | 2/9/2014

    " Great piece of his later writings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Aaron | 2/4/2014

    " I was mad at myself for giving this a try. I had read both "On the Choad" and "Dharma Bums." Both books were an exquisite example of the style over substance phenomenon. Youths exclaiming that they really...wholly...totally experienced something new and fulfilling that those crappy oldies just wouldn't understand. while I probably wouldn't enjoy an evening with your average American family of the 50's (I'm imagining rampant racism and a good dose of casual sexism thrown around the dinner table) Jacky's crew seemed to inhabit a dangerous and extreme counter point (not to mention an uninteresting one, at least by literary standards). In "Big Sur" Kerouac's world is turned on his head and the hollow idealism transforms into a world inhabited by the loneliness of fame, the danger of "friends," and the monstrous effects of a constant desire to alter your reality through substance abuse. A work that is real, terrifying, and constantly intriguing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Fiona | 12/24/2013

    " This is a classic - when I'm feeling like life is a little too proscribed, a short dip into the hundred mile and hour freakshow of Kerouac sets me on the right path again. I've read it before, but not as an adult. I do have to say though, that it is less compelling as an adult - the characters impress me less now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brian | 12/19/2013

    " Not as good as on the road but still very good. "

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