187 pages

English language

Published July 15, 2006 by Penguin Books.

ISBN:
978-0-14-303960-0
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4 stars (36 reviews)

The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The basis for the novel's semi-fictional accounts are events occurring years after the events of On the Road. The main characters are the narrator Ray Smith, based on Kerouac, and Japhy Ryder, based on the poet and essayist Gary Snyder, who was instrumental in Kerouac's introduction to Buddhism in the mid-1950s.

The book concerns duality in Kerouac's life and ideals, examining the relationship of the outdoors, mountaineering, hiking, and hitchhiking through the west US with his "city life" of jazz clubs, poetry readings, and drunken parties. The protagonist's search for a "Buddhist" context to his experiences (and those of others he encounters) recurs throughout the story. The book had a significant influence on the Hippie counterculture of the 1960s.

20 editions

Review of 'Dharma Bums' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

He lost me right around the time when his benevolent, wealthy family back east happily took him back in with little complaint. Not being an option for me personally, I began to resent what I then saw as a sort of laziness, rather than admirable daring to live an unconventional life.

Review of 'Dharma Bums' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It took me a little while to get into this book, you are thrown into a situation where you have to accept that Japhy is amazing, once you accept that then you can sit down and enjoy this beautifully written novel.

The scene where Ray does his first mountain climb is stunning, you are there with him, feeling how tired he is, feeling his anger at having to keep walking when all he wants to do is sleep. It really took me back to when I was a scout and doing really long hikes for the first time.

For me there was a bit too much Buddhism in it and I didn't really get it, so because of my ignorance it only gets 4 stars.

My first Kerouac book and I really enjoyed it.

Review of 'Dharma Bums' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

[b:On the Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21E8H3D1JSL.SL75.jpg|3355573] is better-known, but my favorite of his novels is The Dharma Bums, perhaps because it opens with the protagonist hopping a freight train through the San Luis Obispo yards.

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Subjects

  • Beat generation -- Fiction