The town is Galloway in Massachusetts, birthplace of the five sons and three daughters of the Martin family in the early 1900s. The city is New York, the vast and heaving melting pot, which lures them all in search of futures and identity. Nearly a decade before the publication of On the Road, the story of the Martins' epic transformation in The Town and the City marked the first true literary impact of the founding father of the Beat Generation. Inspired by grief over his father's death, and his own determination to write the Great American Novel, The Town and the City is an essential prelude to Jack Kerouac's later classics.
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. In 1947, enthused by bebop, the rebel attitude of his friend Neal Cassidy, and the throng of hobos, drug addicts and hustlers he encountered in New York, he decided to discover America and hitchhhike across the country. His writing was openly autobiographical and he developed a style he referred to as 'spontaneous prose' which he used to record the experiences of the Beat Generation. Among his many novels are On the Road, Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He died in 1969.