- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Penguin USA; 33rd Printing edition (1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140042520
- ISBN-13: 978-0140042528
- ASIN: B000KXZ8YU
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dharma Bums Paperback – 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
Kerouac devotes Dharma Bums to Snyder in the same way he did On the Road to Neal Cassady. It was one of Kerouac's more happy times, as he was heavy into Buddhism, and sought out Snyder as a soulmate and mentor. Kerouac sets the stage wonderfully, coming across a hobo reading from St. Theresa on a train bound for LA, coming back from Mexico. He then hops the "Zipper" up to San Francisco, which whirled along at 80 miles an hour on the California coastline. Kerouac hangs out at Ginsberg's cabin in the Berkley hills, but it is Snyder's spartan cabin that draws his attention. Snyder had already chosen to live the life of an aesthete, giving up most of his worldly possessions, except for his famous rucksack and orange crates of books, mostly of poetry.Read more ›
Jack Kerouac wrote this story about his days as a Zen Buddhist and rucksack wanderer. His alias in the book is Raymond Smith, and he is living in Berkley with his good buddy Alvah Goldbook(Allen Ginsburg). Ray meets a Zen Lunatic named Japhy Ryder(Gary Snyder), and together they travel the mountains and pastures of Central California trying to find themselves and find the true meaning of life. Ray also journies to Desolation Peak in Washington and lives there alone for the summer, which is just another chapter to this amazing piece of literature.
Another part of this book that impressed me was the beginning, when Kerouac wrote about his experience at the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, and spoke of Alvah Goldbook's first reading of his poem "Wail", which in reality was Allen Ginsburg's legendary first reading of "Howl", which to this day is a Beat Literature classic.
While reading this book, I was constantly marking lines and passages, because some of the descriptions and poetry Kerouac included in this novel are simply amazing. "The Dharma Bums" is one of those books I will treasure forever and read over and over again.
Ray Smith is the first person narrator of DHARMA BUMS, a look alike for Jack Kerouac. For most of the book, he slyly puts Japhy Ryder at the center of attention. Ryder is a stand-in for poet Gary Snyder who survives, who as a young man in his twenties was already a natural leader. Surrounding them are other familiar figures from the era, including Alvah Goldbook (translates to Allen Ginsberg). They all write poetry and love jazz, women, and a casual lifestyle. They seek spiritual enlightenment. They delight in trolling for clothes in the Good Will and Army and Navy stores, they savor the simplest meal over a campfire. They are the Dharma Bums, rejecting the paralyzed emptiness they ascribe to middle class life.
I really like this book. The prose is clear and concrete, even when sorting through abstract notions. It is often funny. Kerouac had extraordinary insight into individual nuances and desires, and plays them into the tension of the journey and the sorting out. He had a gift for seeing how outsiders might perceive him and his crowd and how history might come to interpret the present he was portraying.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The fact that this book was a somewhat predictable read made it an almost great book. It developed naturally, with ease, hope, and youthful wonder. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Richard A. Gross
One of my favorite books. If you're into "On the Road" or any hitchhiking novel this is up your alley.Published 1 month ago by David Gambill
I'm not a Kerouac fan, as it turns out. As a Buddhist, I expected to enjoy this book, but Kerouac strikes me more as an alcoholic trying to write his crappy condition into... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim
Like so many others out there, I love Jack Kerouac, though Dharma Bums isn't my favorite book by Kerouac. Even so, it's definitely worth reading. Read morePublished 4 months ago by benny profane