Rea, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Rea)
Still one of my ultimate favorites! . ..as though reconnecting with an old friend. “I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”
― Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums
Suze R, September 25, 2011 (view all comments by Suze R)
I've revisited this book several times.I love the way Kerouac captures the feeling of the time he writes about,the 50's of the Beat generation in SF and Berkeley.I love the characters in this book,especially Japhy,who is based on Gary Snyder.There is a sweetness to this story that is a little sad considering how Kerouac ended up in real life.
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Andrew Kaplan, February 1, 2008 (view all comments by Andrew Kaplan)
You've heard of On The Road; likely you've even read it. But turn to this book for the wilder side of Kerouac. A classic Beat treatise on nature, loneliness and the human spirit, Dharma Bums offers a sparkling introduction to the world of Zen Buddhism according to the wandering poets of 1950s America.
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by Nancy W. Ross, The New York Times Book Review, 10/5/1958,
"Kerouac can describe a simple supper of pea soup and wild mushrooms, or even a spartan repast prepared from those little plastic bags of dried food carried by seasoned mountaineers, in a way to make your mouth water.... In his often brilliant descriptions of nature one is aware of exhilarating power and originality..."
by Phoebe Adams, Atlantic Monthly, October, 1958,
"Whatever one may think of the soundness of his philosophy, which at the moment seems to be Zen Buddhism, Jack Kerouac is a writer who cannot be charged with dullness. The Dharma Bums is as disorderly, ungrammatical, and readable as his On the Road, and while it contains less gaudy misbehavior it offers a better alternative to the gray flannel suit than the prisoner's uniform."
One of the best and most popular of Kerouac's autobiographical novels, The Dharma Bums is based on experiences the writer had during the mid-1950s while living in California, after he'd become interested in Buddhism's spiritual mode of understanding. One of the book's main characters, Japhy Ryder, is based on the real poet Gary Snyder, who was a close friend and whose interest in Buddhism influenced Kerouac.
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