Big Sur (novel)
First edition cover
|Publisher||Farrar, Straus and Cudahy|
|September 11, 1962|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||Approx. 256 pp|
|LC Class||PS3521.E735 B5 1992|
|Preceded by||Lonesome Traveler
|Followed by||Visions of Gerard
Big Sur is a 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's (here known by the name of his fictional alter-ego Jack Duluoz) three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The novel departs from Kerouac's previous fictionalized autobiographical series in that the character Duluoz is shown as a popular, published author; Kerouac's previous novels are restricted to depicting Kerouac's days as a bohemian traveller.
The novel depicts Duluoz's mental and physical deterioration. Duluoz is unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public, and is battling with advanced alcoholism. He seeks respite first in solitude in the Big Sur cabin, then in a relationship with Billie, the mistress of his longtime friend Cody Pomeray (Neal Cassady). Duluoz finds respite in the Big Sur wilderness, but is driven by loneliness to return to the city, and resumes drinking heavily.
Across Duluoz's subsequent trips to Big Sur and interleaved lifestyle in San Francisco, he drunkenly embarrasses Cody by introducing Billie to Cody's wife, cannot emotionally provide for the increasingly demanding Billie, and finds himself increasingly unable to integrate into suburban life. Duluoz's inner turmoil culminates in his nervous breakdown during his third journey to Big Sur.
An addendum to the book contains Kerouac's poem "Sea: Sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur".
"Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work." 
|Real-life person||Character name|
|Jack Kerouac||Jack Duluoz|
|Neal Cassady||Cody Pomeray|
|Lawrence Ferlinghetti||Lorenzo Monsanto|
|Allen Ginsberg||Irwin Garden|
|Lenore Kandel||Româna Swartz|
|Robert LaVigne||Robert Browning|
|Michael McClure||Pat McLear|
|Jackie Gibson Mercer||Willamine "Billie" Dabney|
|Albert Saijo||George Baso|
|Gary Snyder||Jarry Wagner|
|Alan Watts||Arthur Wayne|
|Lew Welch||Dave Wain|
|Philip Whalen||Ben Fagan|
|Victor Wong||Arthur Ma|
A film adaption of the novel, directed by Michael Polish, was released in 2013. The cast includes Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady, Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Cassady, Henry Thomas as Whalen, Anthony Edwards as Ferlinghetti, Balthazar Getty as McClure, Patrick Fischler as Welch, and Stana Katic as Kandel.
- Summary and analysis of novel
- Complete character key to Big Sur & other Kerouac novels
- Gallery of Big Sur book covers
- Big Sur at the Internet Movie Database
- Sandison, Daivd. Jeck Kerouac: An Illustrated Biography. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. 1999
- Who’s Who: A Guide to Kerouac’s Characters
- Kerouac, Jack. Visions of Cody. London and New York: Penguin Books Ltd. 1993.
- Wills, D. 'Who's Who: A Guide to Kerouac's Characters', in Wills, D. (ed.) Beatdom Vol. 3 (Mauling Press: Dundee, 2009); Available online
- Pulley, M: The last days of Victor Wong Sacramento News & Review, September 18th, 2001
- 1962. Big Sur, ISBN 0-14-016812-5