cover image Good Blonde & Others

Good Blonde & Others

Jack Kerouac. Grey Fox Press, $14.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-912516-22-6

Kerouac was a literary pilgrim in the ``careful . . . self-conscious'' 1950s, notes Creeley; this miscellany of some 30 magazine contributions (from Playboy , Escapade and other publications) is a good complement to his better-known work such as On the Road. Five pieces describe road trips; the satisfying title tale recalls a bygone time in which a beautiful blonde model might pick up a hitchhiker packing Benzedrine. Kerouac offers observations on the Beat Generation, tying it to beatitude and lamenting its appropriation by the ``Hollywood borscht circuit.'' His advice on writing is both incisively amusing (``Try never get drunk outside yr own house'') and perhaps unhelpful to the less talented (``sketching language is . . . blowing'' like a jazz musician). Most interesting is his elegant and persuasive defense of his novel The Subterraneans in 1963 after it was banned in Italy. His 1969 reflection on the radicals of the era is startling: though critical of the ``Establishment,'' he castigates young leftists and praises the American system that allowed him to travel wherever he wanted. But some other writings, like impressionistic sketches of Manhattan and articles on baseball, are strictly for fans. (Sept.)