Sunday, September 30, 2007

WHAT HAPPENED LATER by Ray Robertson (2007)

There are two narrative threads in this gripping novel. In one, the adolescent Ray Robertson explores what it was like growing up in Chatham in the 70s and 80s, keenly aware of the limitations that social status imposed in his hardworking community wherein he dreams of following the intellectual footsteps of his idol Jim Morrison and Jim's idol Jack Kerouac. Even more convincing, however, is the novelist's reimagining of the iconic Beatnik's journey to small town Quebec to trace his Kerouac roots on the roadtrip that would hopefully lead to his sequel to ON THE ROAD that he had planned to call WHAT HAPPENED LATER.

Robertson's novel did two things for me: helped me reclaim some of the pop cultural elements of my own adolescence growing up in small town Ontario and pushed me to read Kerouac again. As a grownup.

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