Jack Kerouac’s classic novel about friendship, the search for meaning, and the allure of nature
First published in 1958, a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac’s most powerful and influential novels. The story focuses on two ebullient young Americans–mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder, and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer–whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco’s Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras.
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.
“In [On the Road] Kerouac’s heroes were sensation seekers; now they are seekers after truth . . . the novel often attains a beautiful dignity, and builds towards a moving climax.” —The Chicago Tribune
“In his often brilliant descriptions of nature one is aware of exhilarating power and originality . . . the entire cast of characters is presented with that not unrefreshing blend of naivete and sophistication that seems to be this author’s forte.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Full of sparkling descritions of landscape and weather, light falling through trees, the smell of snow, the motion of animals . . . Jack Kerouac is a writer who cannot be charged with dullness.” —The Atlantic