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  • Visions of Cody

  • By: Jack Kerouac
  • Narrated by: Graham Parker
  • Length: 3 hrs and 7 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

Hear Jack Kerouac's most radical experiment in language and storytelling - an "enormous paean" to that singular and influential figure Neal Cassady. A fusion of radical improvisation, bold reportage, and oracular voice, it is Kerouac's ultimate version of his ultimate masterpiece, On the Road. The selections featured in this recording capture Kerouac's astonishing spontaneity, a quality that inspired Allen Ginsberg to dub Visions of Cody "the most sincere and holy writing I know of our age."
©1960 Jack Kerouac; 1972 The Estate of Jack Kerouac, All Rights Reserved (P)1996 Penguin Books USA Inc.; 16 9

Critic reviews

Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award: Best Audio of 1996, Dramatic Reading.

What listeners say about Visions of Cody

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fast paced trip through the Beat Generation

This is a glorious, fast-paced and evocative book about the new Beat Generation and counter-culture of America in the 1950s.

It is written in a stream of consciousness style with breathless sentences and is a wonderfully disjointed journey written from transcribed conversations between Duluoz (Kerouac) and Cody (Neal Cassady).

It is written as sketches or poetry rather than a novel and generally covers the trip by Duluoz from New York to to visit Cody in San Francisco. The first part is Duluoz planning and the second part is their adventures.

The writing is so sumptuous and evocative. There are bums, 50 cent whores, pool halls, trains, bars and diners.

There is much drinking and pot smoking and late night parties with waitresses, their are crazy characters such as Carlo Marx, and Dean Moriarty. Essentially the book is about rebellious young people trying to build a life after the failure of the American Dream.

Rumour has it that Kerouac wanted to write like Proust had in his epic In Search of Lost Time. He quotes Proust appreciatively. Rumour also has it that Duluoz (French Canadian slang for louse) was created in Liverpool where Kerouac was stationed in the merchant navy. All Kerouac's books are essentially parts of one single, larger work.

Anyhow I have chosen to review Visions of Cody rather than his other titles as it is my favourite and contains some of Kerouac's best writings and sadly wasn't printed until twenty years after it was written in 1952 because of sexuality explicit content which, these days, is hardly noticible.

Most importantly, Graham Parker's reading together with the accompanying music take what is already an outstanding book and make it into a sensory work of art.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Yerkes
  • 20-07-09

Annoying

Why pick a narrator with a British accent to read Kerouac? Why make the jazz background music so prominent and incessant? Why abridge a work whose thorough, thick description is precisely the point? I'm a fan of Kerouac and have loved other readings of his works (I'm partial to Matt Dillon's reading of On the Road,) but I find this one marred by pretentiousness and difficult to appreciate.

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • T
  • 01-10-14

What...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This is horrible, it skips every part of the actual book

very disappointed

Annoying British accent...

Would you ever listen to anything by Jack Kerouac again?

yes

What didn’t you like about Graham Parker’s performance?

everything

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

nope

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Oakley
  • 31-10-11

An American Tale Told in a Strange Cockney Voice

I have to agree with an earlier review. I thought that the accent of the narrator would not bother me. I am a world traveler, but I do know that traveling the states is a different thing all together, and I find this reading to be awful and unlistenable. Very disappointing.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Orin
  • 29-05-13

Performance is good, but not right

I have read Visions of Cody, I have heard audio of Kerouac reading excerpts. Kerouac has a very unique delivery and cadence that many have tried to emulate, some do it pretty well, some don't. Using his native accent, there is no attempt to imitate the sound of Kerouac reading; the issue being Kerouac's writing is essential tied to the cadence, timbre, and accent he developed being of French Canadian ancestry in Massachusetts. The accent may not be as jarring with another Kerouac book, such as Town and City or Dr. Sax, but this is not a narrative as much as a collection of visions and they just don't work with the cadence and pronunciations painted on them. If the accent isn't bad enough, there is an insistence on aura music in the background of the reading, such as pseudo-bebop jazz riffs, the required beatnik bongos, and japanese flutes wafting zen-like through the words, that just make this feel more of an attempt at performance art than the reading of a book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Roy
  • 27-12-11

Wrong voice for the material.

The narrator may be a successful "Pop Star" but his cockney accent isn't exactly the King's English nor is it the right voice for this most American of material.
It's hard to take and I foud myself dragging through this book in fits and starts only because of my dedication to Kerouac and the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan
  • 01-04-09

cool~~~

the best~~~

sit back and let it blow over you~~~

sit back and just dig it...really.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kevin
  • 01-09-19

Kerouac deserves an American narrator and no background music please!

Love the story but the British accent ruined this for me even more than the background music. Big disappointment. Should have read other reviews.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Gae
  • 02-03-19

Jazz & organ music accompanied the reading--ahhh!

WHY WHY WHY? Kerouac liked jazz but do I have to listen to mixed music when hearing Kerouac's story. WHY is the narrator of this quintessential American fiction British? Want SO much to hear this story. Made 3 attempts and then finally threw in the towel. Hoping Audible will read this and release a Visions of Cody version with no music and a Kerouac style narrator. Thank you Audible. SO WONDERFUL to be back in touch with Jack!!