Visions of Cody

This is the book that Jess is reading when Rory runs into him while she’s panicking about the water issue.

Visions of Cody is an experimental novel by Jack Kerouac, previously discussed and frequently mentioned. It was written in 1951-52, with excerpts from it published in 1959, but not published in its entirety until 1972 – by then, it already had an underground reputation.

Visions of Cody is derived from experimental spontaneous prose inserts that Kerouac added to the original manuscript of On the Road in 1951–52. Although the narrative of the novel is meandering, consisting of short stream-of-conscious essays, transcriptions of taped conversations, and writing exercises, it focuses on the friendship between Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady (named Jack Duloz and Cody Pomeroy in the text). The book has been described as an early example of New Journalism.

Jess loves Kerouac, the Beat writers, and writing which contains journalism and fiction, so this book is a natural fit for him. Like Rory, he likes to delve deeper into novels he likes, and it makes sense that he would want to read this as a companion to On the Road.

Jess is able to read a book while walking. It’s interesting to speculate why he is wandering along Rory’s street, reading a Kerouac book. Is he mildly stalking Rory, or hoping he’ll run into her? How often does Jess do this “casual stroll near Rory’s house reading an underground classic” routine?

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