The Book That Changed My Life: Part Five

Listen / Download

All the way back in September, 1957 when Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” was first released, the New York Times said, “[It] is the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat” and whose principal avatar he is.”

The story of Sal Paradise, the young would-be novelist, and his magnetic friend Dean Moriarty, tripping across America in a drugged and drunken fury has remained a literary classic now for almost half a century.

The writer Russell Banks read Kerouac’s novel when he was just eighteen and said he hit the pavement and “never looked back.” In the final of our five-part series “The Book That Changed My Life,” Banks talks with us about the wild, and the wondrous, and the seminal ride that took so many other Americans On the Road.


Writer Russell Banks — author of numerous books including, “Affliction,” “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Cloudsplitter,” and most recently, “The Darling.”