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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    57
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    26
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    17

Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benbarian
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 05-21-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enlightened Tome.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. The meditations; the deep introspection; and the lyrical creativity in stringing thoughts and words together to share this experience opened new pathways through my brain and jump started my mind to create memories for myself like these of self discovery.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hmmm

I picked this book up after hearing it mentioned in another book, and I guess I was expecting something different. There wasn't really a story so much as a wandering account of the main character's life. The Buddhist concepts seemed rather vague and the narrator was difficult to listen to. I found myself struggling to get through it. I'm sure this is a great fit for some but it wasn't my cup of tea.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ballzdeep
  • The Great lakes state Michigan
  • 03-22-18

great book needs to be recorded by someone else.

The book is great and hearing Allen Ginsberg read it should be awesome but with all of Allen's talents, his voice and reading this at his age when he recorded this just does not match the manly bravado which was Jack Kerouac. It would be great to get a more representative voice that feels like Jack telling me his story.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Esoteric dribble

“I went celibate because I figured sex led to birth and birth led to all the suffering in the world.” Drugs, drinking, endless esoteric ramblings about the nature of everything without structure or even decent rationale, with hints of Buddhism tossed in here and there.
If you like to get super high on pot and listen to a book that sounds like a friend, who is also high as a kite, rambling endlessly about random topics ... this book is for you.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

ABN82MP

I'm a Kerouac fan, but just could not get into this version. Something about Ginsberg's narration that just turned me off.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is a great novella, which I really enjoyed.

However the meter and tone of Alan Ginsburg's oration is so often off key and out of synch that I have to wonder if it's not intentional. I would recommend finding a more modern reading.