The Sea Is My Brother

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March 02, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

Fourteen years before On the Road turned him into the Benzedrine-fueled symbol of the Beat Generation, Kerouac set out to write his first novel. He was 21, a Merchant Marine high on the freedom of the open seas, and judging from this slight debut, still struggling to find his voice. Chronicling the boozy nights of a pair of men looking to lead authentic lives as sailors, The Sea Is My Brother will interest scholars, though it’s unlikely to win new fans. But if you squint hard enough, you’ll see hints of the bebop prose that would later pour out of Kerouac’s typewriter so effortlessly. B

The Sea Is My Brother

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The Sea Is My Brother

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