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The Dharma Bums | [Jack Kerouac]

The Dharma Bums

Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma, or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude - a lesson that has a hard time surviving their forays into the pagan groves of San Francisco's bohemia, with its marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, experiments in "yabyum", and other non-ascetic pastimes.
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Publisher's Summary

Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma, or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude - a lesson that has a hard time surviving their forays into the pagan groves of San Francisco's bohemia, with its marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, experiments in "yabyum", and other non-ascetic pastimes.

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.

What the Critics Say

"A vivid evocation of a part of our time." (New York Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (230 )
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3.7 (180 )
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3.8 (177 )
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Performance
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  •  
    HankieG Pleasant Hill, CA USA 07-18-13
    HankieG Pleasant Hill, CA USA 07-18-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Slouch This Dharma Bum"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Dharma Bums to and why?

    Desolation Angels apparently is sequentially after Dharma Bums, and the Zen themes run through out both.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Sooke BC Canada 04-17-12
    James Sooke BC Canada 04-17-12

    I love trees!

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    "loved It!!!"
    What did you love best about The Dharma Bums?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dharma Bums?

    when ray comes to stay at Sean Monahan's


    Which character – as performed by Tom Parker – was your favorite?

    Loved Japhy Ryder!!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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 additional comments?

    any body who loves the outdoors,nature, free spirt lifestyle, buddhism will dig this book!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 11-01-14
    Elizabeth 11-01-14 Member Since 2012
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    "I can check the box on this American writer"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Chappaqua, NY, United States 03-26-12
    Melissa Chappaqua, NY, United States 03-26-12
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    "kind of dated"

    got my attention - but dated - surprisingly sexist - but I suspect pretty accurate for its day

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 United States 11-04-11
    Parola138 United States 11-04-11 Member Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my thing, but you might like it"

    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.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Bloggs WASHINGTON, IL, United States 07-13-13
    Joe Bloggs WASHINGTON, IL, United States 07-13-13 Member Since 2010

    Simple Joe

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    "Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing"
    What disappointed you about The Dharma Bums?

    I thought maybe there was something of substance to this book, but there was nothing of substance there.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jack Kerouac again?

    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.


    What does Tom Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm not sure really. I suppose he did a decent job, but nothing jumps off the table and says "This is something special"


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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