Advance praise for The Voice Is All

Advance Praise for THE VOICE IS ALL



“This is quite simply the best book about Kerouac and one of the best accounts of any writer’s
apprenticeship that I have read. And it should generate a serious reconsideration of Kerouac
as a classical, because hyphenated, American writer, one struggling to synthesize a doubled
language, culture, and class. It’s also a terrific read, a windstorm of a story.”   - Russell Banks


“Joyce Johnson brings her immense narrative gifts to this portrait of Jack Kerouac, in which she
deftly bridges the cultural and psychological elements of his formative years to the haunting
themes and preoccupations of his novels. In these pages, there is an intimacy of knowledge
which renders previous  hagiographies and celebrity-worship treatises of Kerouac’s life null
and void – and it’s about time!  This is an indispensably honest book about an inimitable
American writer, composed by an inimitable American writer.”                        - Howard Norman


“With The Voice Is All, Joyce Johnson has vaulted from memoir to biography, clearing every
hurdle with a portrait of young Jack Kerouac that is as beautifully written as and even more
enlightening than her classic Minor Characters. She illuminates the period, brings nuance and
new information to twice-told tales, and recasts Kerouac from a beat to a writer. This is the
way literary biography ought to be done and rarely is: a revelation.”                 - Gary Giddins


“Kerouac is a writer's writer as well as a pop culture icon, and only another writer could have
 given us this extraordinary portrait of a major artist's challenging apprenticeship and triumphant
 break-through into a new literary style and narrative form. Johnson takes us deep within Kerouac's
 creative process and tender, troubled psyche; to read The Voice Is All is at once exhilarating and
 heartbreaking. This is the definitive work on Kerouac, alive on every page; it is also yet another
 stunning achievement for Johnson herself, one of our most gifted, versatile and powerful writers."
                                                                                                                                             Ann Douglas

“Framed as a sketch of the early Kerouac finding his voice up to the writing of On the Road and Visions
of Cody
, Joyce Johnson’s knowing and intimate The Voice is All delivers the most ambitious of biograph-
ical results. She restores dignity and intellect to her subject, and gives her readers access to the poignant
and complex young man behind all of that charismatic beat prose.”                       - Brad Gooch


“With eloquence and a wealth of detail, Joyce Johnson chronicles Kerouac’s false starts, switchbacks,
and re-tunings on his path to a fiction of sheer energy.  This remarkable  portrait of his early years
gives a close view of the intense process of one writer’s development.”                 - Joan Silber


 “Joyce Johnson has long been one of our most dependably intelligent, honest writers; and this biography
of Jack Kerouac,the product of a lifetime of sifting truth from myth and ruminating about the subject, is
arguably her best book.  There is a maturity, wisdom and compassion here that puts to shame most literary
biographies.”                                                                                                                      - Phillip Lopate


"One day in the 1950s, Allen Ginsberg fixed his friend Joyce up on a blind date. The date became one of
 the most influential American writers of all time, and Joyce the marvelous novelist and memoirist, Joyce
 Johnson. We think of Kerouac as an overnight sensation, but Johnson tells a deeper and more surprising
 story. Guided by memory of youthful intimacy with her subject and equipped with thorough knowledge
 of his works and access to newly opened archives, she strips away myth to give us a nuanced, engrossing
 biography – an indelible account of a hardworking young man’s inspiring effort to become a great writer."
                                                                                                                                                 - Honor Moore