Go: A Novel [John Clellon Holmes] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Generally acknowledged to be the first Beat novel, go was originally. Go by John Clellon Holmes – book cover, description, publication history. Go, by John Clellon Holmes, is the first novel published by a member of the so- called Beat Generation of the s in the United States. The years immediately .

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Book review: Go, by John Clellon Holmes

If you’re going through a “quarter life crisis,” this is the book for you. Oh, he cares about those things, no matter what he says!

View all 3 comments. Happily, he got drunk, hit the road and discovered spontaneous prose, which is really what made the beats “beat. I first read it when I was 20, fifty years ago, and rereading it after all that time is a rather strange experience. There are others, too, but these are the best known. Holmes can get a bit too verbose at times, but for me this was part of the young writer trying to capture everything as honestly as he can with whatever tools of the trade he joyn at the time.

Highly approachable yet beautifully written if a bit awkward at timesGo seems like it should have been a confessional written by a friend of Kerouac, Ginsberg, etc.

Go (Holmes novel) – Wikipedia

With many of the same “characters” different names, but based off of the same real life people in John Clellon Holmes, Go as in On the Road by Jack Kerouac, it’s hard not to comapre the two. Views Read Edit View history. I closed the book feeling very alive to the moment that I myself live in.

From wild all night parties to Allen Ginsberg ‘s visions of William Blake to the death of Bill Cannastrathe events of the book are largely real events, some of them alluded to in other beat works, most notably Ginsberg’s ” Howl “.

Go analyzes the brief pop culture phenomenon of beatniks in urban New York, diving into their history but also the philosophy and voices behind it. And rereading it fifty years later, Hollmes see that Holmes actually tried to create the new vision that made us look back on his world with rose-tinted spectacles.


If you think that the whole notion of the Beat Generation sprang from the head of Jack Kerouac when he wrote On the Roadyou’re wrong. I really enjoyed this novel, for me it was fascinating to have such a different outlook into the beats.

Go : John Clellon Holmes :

Please email webmaster fantasticfiction. A lost generation indeed. Published two months before Kerouac began On the Road, Go is the first and most accurate chronicle of the private lives the Beats lived before they became public figures. Not as many boozy parties, and no one was writing a book, but perhaps our conversations were even more intelligent, even when we smoked pot, which was rare. It follows the complications of interpersonal relationships arising from a group of disillusioned and often eccentric young people.

Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It was only 20 years beforeyet is now forty years ago. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I came to Go assuming it would be a timepiece, dated but interesting. Really awesome, like a postmodern “On The Road” you’d think was written last year deliberately to subvert the mythic image, when in fact the reverse is true: You did the honest thing, the big thing, the good thing.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Read more from the Study Guide. Jul 29, Josh rated it really liked it. It is David Stofsky Ginsbergthough, who is the most memorable: Holmes gives us a more realistic, less romantic, vision of the Beats, and this helps us put this generation of poets in perspective. Aug 08, Christine No rated it really liked it. Highly recommended for all Beat afficionados. Of all of Holmes’s characterizations, the one that stays with me the most is David Sklofsky as Ginsberg with his innocence, mysticism, and unending curiosity.

For us in the sixties, that was the starting point. Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. In “Go” Clellon Holmes approached classic literature as opposed to the forging, freshness and gimmicks of bebop prose. Or does he become the moment, shouting “go, go, go”‘ like a hipster digging a “real gone”sax solo, until life itself comes to a stop?


Holmes has said that the only plot element entirely invented by himself is Kathryn’s infidelity. After trawling through many a Kerouac novel as a youth I finally found “Go”. He thinks of his friends, including one who had died, and wonders if anyone had actually loved them. However positive progression and the avant-garde within literature are, the advancement or stunting of the species Admittedly, there is a great deal of awkwardness here, particularly when getting into analyzing what is going on or trying to talk about high ideas.

The essence of the book is summed up in the dream of one of the characters, Stofsky a thinly-diguised version of the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

Having read most of Jack Kerouac’s books about this period in time, it was interesting to read about it from a different perspective. This is a chronicle of beat life, not a celebration of it.

Holmes was more an observer and documenter of beat characters like Ginsberg, Cassidy and Kerouac than one of them. And that’s not all!

John Clellon Holmes Book Covers

Fifty years ago somehow seems quite close to the present, yet ten years earlier, when Holmes wrote, seems another world, another eon, another universe. He is also well-known for writing what is considered to be the definitive jazz novel of the Beat Generation, “The Horn. And so it all seemed rather wonderful, transported out of its time and place into some kind of beautiful timeless realm.

Although possibly too conventional for some fans, Holmes’ portraits of the inner circle of beat writers make this a must-read for anyone interested in the movement.

Hobbes is torn between joining his friends in their to existence and trying to maintain his relatively stable life and marriage to his wife Kathryn.