Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Dharma Bums Paperback – May 27, 1971
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
One of the best and most popular of Kerouac's autobiographical novels, The Dharma Bums is based on experiences the writer had during the mid-1950s while living in California, after he'd become interested in Buddhism's spiritual mode of understanding. One of the book's main characters, Japhy Ryder, is based on the real poet Gary Snyder, who was a close friend and whose interest in Buddhism influenced Kerouac. This book is a must-read for any serious Kerouac fan.
"In [On the Road] Kerouac's heroes were sensation seekers; now they are seekers after truth . . . the novel often attains a beautiful dignity, and builds towards a moving climax."
--The Chicago Tribune
"In his often brilliant descriptions of nature one is aware of exhilarating power and originality . . . the entire cast of characters is presented with that not unrefreshing blend of naivete and sophistication that seems to be this author's forte."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Full of sparkling descritions of landscape and weather, light falling through trees, the smell of snow, the motion of animals . . . Jack Kerouac is a writer who cannot be charged with dullness."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Easy read that goes quick. Jack is definitely not timid with his ideas, so be prepared for sections that you may not agree with. Overall, highly recommend this book, especially if you have ever wondered/dabbled in eastern religion/philosophy.
Indeed, I loved the book enough to write a companion reader for it (The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions), so right up front I have a bias and thought you should know about that.
In at least one of his letters (Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters: Volume 2), Kerouac himself acknowledged that The Dharma Bums was 'really bettern ON THE ROAD' (p. 99). So, if you don't take my word for it, maybe you will take the author's and make this your first foray into beat literature. I don't think you'll regret it.
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. Though he is legendarily perceived as a spontaneous artist, there is extraordinary control and shape imposed on these pages. Only twice does he momentarily break his world: once, in my edition, he slips and refers to Japhy as Gary, and another time, slipping out of the immediacy of the action, he pays a compliment to a simple meal on the road, noting that even as a lionized young writer in New York, he had not had a better meal in an upscale restaurant. Those curious nanoseconds can be forgiven, however. This book is a joy.
Most recent customer reviews
'One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple'
The Dharma Bums (1958)
In my careful first steps on the...Read more