This autobiographical novel appeared just a year after the author's explosive On the Road put the Beat generation on the literary map and Kerouac on the best-seller lists. The same expansiveness, humor, and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novel ignites this one.
©1986 Jan Kerouac and Stella Kerouac; (P)2004 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A vivid evocation of a part of our time." (New York Post)
Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in the train yard. Ray goes on a hike with his buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They go back to a shack. Everyone gets drunk. Everyone gets laid. By the same Barbie nympho doll. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in a train yard. Ray goes home and Momma cooks for him. Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray meets up with buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They throw a party and get drunk. Several women show up and wish they could have sex with Ray's friend. Ray goes on a road trip. Then Ray climbs a mountain. More pseudo eastern philosophical BS. The end.
I get that this was very influential in 1958. That millions of young men thought this footloose lifestyle was some kind of statement about individualism and freedom. But boy, it just reads like BS today. And if you've read On the Road already, this is a pale duplicate only with eastern BS thrown in to try and make it mean something. Which it doesn't. It doesn't mean anything except Kerouac didn't like women or working.
Kerouac was a great writer. I wish he'd been a better man and given us better material. I am totally done with him now.
The narrator was great.
Sorry, but I struggled to get into this. I liked 'On the Road,' a lot, and this pretty much 'On The Road,' but with a Buddhist theme. You get a bunch of people talking about esoteric Buddist things that your average western would not know/care about. I think there are better Kerouak books out there unless you are already into Buddhism and understand some of this ahead of time. Narration was fine though.
Hearing someone else read one of most favorite books and how they read through passages versus how I did.
The free flowing and wanting to find "something" that continues from On the Road where they were just wanting to the experience that "something"
I recommend it, but that is coming from a Kerouac fanboy and an already lover of Dharma Bums. It is a great listen and a great story of a man finding himself. If you have never read/listened to this I suggest you give it a try!
A reminder of the excellent detail interwoven with contemplation by the Great Rememberer. Great to hear this having first read the follow up much earlier, Desolation Angels.
Desolation Angels apparently is sequentially after Dharma Bums, and the Zen themes run through out both.
I thought maybe there was something of substance to this book, but there was nothing of substance there.
I don't think so. The idea that he was some sort of guru or something is a sad notion that not even die hard aging hippies are likely to believe. He's just a guy who did some drugs and learned a little about an Eastern religion.
I'm not sure really. I suppose he did a decent job, but nothing jumps off the table and says "This is something special"
Just disappointment at wasting my time. It happens now and then, you pick a book off the "Must read before I die" list and find out it really actually sucks.
I can't imagine why this book shows up in certain "Must Read" lists. Obviously nobody who puts these lists together has actually suffered through this dull book.
I love trees!
every thing!! the story, narrator and most of all.... the characters!! This book spoke to me mostly I think because there are a lot of parallels with my own life.
when ray comes to stay at Sean Monahan's
Loved Japhy Ryder!!
No I took my time and listen to it over a week or so. then I listened a couple more times. theres a lot being said.
any body who loves the outdoors,nature, free spirt lifestyle, buddhism will dig this book!
This is a great story from the 1950’s when you could hitchhike all across the country and sleep out in public spaces. Now there are no public spaces you can do that in legally because most are ‘privately owned’. With that aside I do like the story where you have three different views on what the Dharma is and how different people see it. I would liked to have read at the end an epilogue of where everyone was ten years from when the story ended. After reading it I can see that like the Tao, you can’t speak the Tao and have it be the true Tao the Dharma is the same as in it has a different meaning to everyone that practices it.
Oh, and I do like the part where the woman talks about the ‘police’ watching everything you do just because they can and 50 years after this book was published congress gave the ‘police’ just that authority.
I am a live storyteller who devours huge amounts of audio books to study classics and new books so I can tell new stories.
What made the experience of listening to The Dharma Bums the most enjoyable was that I had studied Kerouac's "Book of Haikus" beforehand, piquing my interest to explore his interest in Buddhism in greater depth. I got a much fuller and richer picture of the man than I received from studying his haiku separately. I also enjoyed witnessing how he spontaneously composed haiku depending on what was going on around him.
I would compare The Dharma Bums to Jack London's The Road because they both involved journeys as bums, the spiritual journeys within, and journeys as writers. In fact, Kerouac mentioned London in The Dharma Bums. I am certain Kerouac studied and was perhaps inspired by London's book on being a hobo.
If I could take any character from The Dharma Bums out to dinner, I would take Ray Smith (Jack Kerouac) the narrator just to hear his adventure stories and haiku.
My favorite scene was the end when Smith sought solitude atop Desolation Peak for sixty-five days and achieved enlightenment. This was beautifully described, and Kerouac returned to this event time and time again in subsequent writings. No study of On the Road is complete without reading his followup The Dharma Bums, which had a huge impact upon the counter culture of the 1960's.
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