From the award-winning author of Minor Characters, a groundbreaking portrait of Jack Kerouac as a young artist.
In The Voice Is All, Joyce Johnson—coauthor of the classic memoir Door Wide Open, about her relationship with Jack Kerouac—brilliantly peels away layers of the Kerouac legend to show how, caught between two cultures and two languages, he forged a voice to contain his dualities. Looking more deeply than previous biographers into how Kerouac's French Canadian background enriched his prose and gave him a unique outsider's vision of America, she tracks his development from boyhood through the phenomenal breakthroughs of 1951 that resulted in the composition of On the Road, followed by Visions of Cody. By illuminating Kerouac's early choice to sacrifice everything for his work, The Voice Is All deals with him on his own terms and puts the tragic contradictions of his nature and his complex relationships into perspective.
"This is quite simply the best book about Kerouac and one of the best accounts of any writer's apprenticeship that I have read." ---Russell Banks
"Johnson brings her immense narrative gifts to this portrait of Jack Kerouac. In these pages, there is an intimacy of knowledge which renders previous accounts of Kerouac's life null and void---and it's about time! This is an indispensably honest book about an inimitable American writer, composed by an inimitable American writer." ---Howard Norman
"This is the definitive work on Kerouac, alive on every page; it is also yet another stunning achievement for Johnson herself, one of our most gifted, versatile and powerful writers." ---Ann Douglas
"Johnson excels in her colorful, candid assessment of the evolution of this voice up through the genesis of On the Road the point where most other appraisals of Kerouac begin." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Johnson reveals the many sides of Kerouac in a way that allows even those who've never even heard of the man to appreciate his many talents. With Carrington MacDuffie at the mike, this biography soars." ---AudioFile