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The Dharma Bums | [Jack Kerouac]

The Dharma Bums

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Publisher's Summary

Two friends in 1950s San Francisco Bohemia explore Buddhism Zen - hipster style. On the road to finding Dharma, or truth, the story's narrator, Raymond Smith comes to a spiritual roadblock. Smith, based on Kerouac himself, discovers a role model in his friend Japhy Ryder, modeled after the real poet-Buddhist Gary Snyder. This autobiographical novel is one of Kerouac's most popular, and has served as an inspiration to the beat culture, hippies, and dharma seekers since the 1950s. This program is narrated by legendary poet Allen Ginsberg, a friend of Kerouac's and an early fan of his work.

Recording (P)1991 by Audio Literature; ©1958 by Jack Kerouac

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (62 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
4.0 (18 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (17 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    S. Craig 10-23-03
    S. Craig 10-23-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    116
    1
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    "jack at his best"

    on the road part two. with lots of buddism in the mix, just enough humor to keep it from being boring. mind expanding beat litt at its finest.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benbarian Johannesburg, South Africa 05-21-12
    Benbarian Johannesburg, South Africa 05-21-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "As it should be done"
    What made the experience of listening to The Dharma Bums the most enjoyable?

    Brilliant story, brilliant narration


    Have you listened to any of Allen Ginsberg???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Ginsberg is the perfect narrator for this piece. There are probably narrators more qualified with better voices and better meter, but Ginsburg lived with Kerouac, danced and sang and sprouted mad poetry with him, he is Alvah Goldbook is the book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    THOMAS Malvern, Australia 03-26-12
    THOMAS Malvern, Australia 03-26-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "You have to love Jack and Allen"

    Reading any biography, or just listening to an author in conversation quickly reveals the complexities of recalled and reshaped experience. Hearing Allen Ginsberg read Jack Kerouac will take you back in an instant and real way to those times, and the relationship between the two men. Your own version of The Dharma Bums will likely be different, just as Jack's own version will be different from your own. But it is also likely that your sense of your own version, and your imagined sense of what Jack's version was will be enhanced by hearing Allen's.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Crider Kansas City, MO, United States 11-25-12
    S. Crider Kansas City, MO, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2012

    lost in words

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what I remember when I was a Beat in SF"
    What was most disappointing about Jack Kerouac’s story?

    I was so enchanted by Kerouac, but at my much older age found this story so out of date. I guess i missed the point.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Allen Ginsburg seemed so smug in his reading, I thought he was drunk or stoned. His voice was slurred. I think Mr. Ginsburg could do a lot better than what he did for this book.


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

    disappointment.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald C. Wagner Mount Auburn, IL United States 12-28-09
    Ronald C. Wagner Mount Auburn, IL United States 12-28-09 Listener Since 2002
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    "Don't buy abridged versions of novels."

    This is just not the true Kerouac experience. You need the whole thing. It is a waste of money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriel Askim, Norway 04-03-09
    Gabriel Askim, Norway 04-03-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Excellent book and narrator but bad sound-quality"

    The book in itself is definitely a 5-star book, and the narrator is perfect for it (he even sounds a bit tipsy, which suits this book perfectly), but the quality of the sound is pretty bad, at least it was so for me, which is why I give it 4 stars.

    All in all, a good book for those who search for the meaning of life and an even greater book for those who have already found out that life's all about having fun.

    (It is pretty hard to pay attention to the beginning of the book, where he presents the characters, but it is sort of essential so you really have to concentrate for the first 15 min.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JILL United States 08-20-11
    JILL United States 08-20-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Waste of Money!"

    Only 4 chapters for almost $10? The book new costs $15 or $2.50 on Amazon! I'm cancelling...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 08-22-03
    Peter San Francisco, CA, USA 08-22-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    13
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    "This is not"

    And I hated Ginsberg's overly accentuated reading. It's a short book but I simply could not get through it. Beware!

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A User Torrance, CA, United States 02-26-13
    A User Torrance, CA, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    21
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    0
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    "Classic BS"
    What would have made The Dharma Bums better?

    A time machine. Maybe this work was cutting edge back in the day but now it just sounds like some hipster doofus babbling on about drinking hooch on the street and chasing tail with his "art" friends. Please, man, I live it, I don't need to hear about it from the sorry likes of you. LAME!


    What could Jack Kerouac have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Stop it with the crystal meth already Jacky! Where's the arc? How 'bout a little element of story thrown in to your jibber-jabbering? Oh that's a stylistic thing? Why the F didn't you say so?


    Would you be willing to try another one of Allen Ginsberg’s performances?

    I like his nasally old man voice. I'm not sure if I downloaded in the wrong quality or what but it sounded like he was at the bottom of a tennis balls tube with the lid still on it.


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

    Boredom. After 1.5 hours I was just saying to myself repeatedly "I think I can, I think I can...finish this stupid book"


    Any additional comments?

    Bleh!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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