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Extended Audio Sample The Dharma Bums Audiobook, by Jack Kerouac Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00003485690324 out of 53.00003485690324 out of 53.00003485690324 out of 53.00003485690324 out of 53.00003485690324 out of 5 3.00 (38,156 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack Kerouac Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781455170302
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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 similar nonascetic 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 bestseller lists. The same expansiveness, humor, and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novel ignites this one. The novel is based on Kerouac’s experiences 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. This book is a must-read for any serious Kerouac fan.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A vivid evocation of a part of our time.”

    New York Post

  • “Tom Parker reads Kerouac’s vividly descriptive narrative with sincere enthusiasm.”

    Library Journal

  • The Dharma Bums, with its mystical, environmental, and cultural messages, is a meaningful and relevant piece.”

    Library Journal

  • “A poetic celebration of life…a fine, clear narration by Parker. Sound quality is excellent.”

    Kliatt

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick Santana | 2/20/2014

    " As good or better than "On The Road." Not to be missed. Just as insightful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maxey | 2/7/2014

    " I may have liked this book even more than On the Road. Kerouac's life and adventures are so sparsely described and his characters are all guys that I so want to know. Let me climb a mountain with you, Jack! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Obornys | 1/29/2014

    " I sometimes dream of running around a fire naked like Japhy Ryder. :) It'd be so liberating. My favorite book. Changed my life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexandra | 1/26/2014

    " Nice short read, i liked this more than On The Road. Less action but more introspection, and an obviously flawed but very personal view of buddhism. more than anything, this book just made me want to go hiking or camping. a book that makes me want to do something is always good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 1/18/2014

    " monkey mind at its best. a cultural meme -- time, place, people, ideas. he gets all the zen terms correct but his applications in this work don't seem to hold (for this reader). nonetheless, there are some ideas worth gleaning. but overall, it's about the "summer of free love" where women are sex objects and the cutting edge ideas of dharma have folded into the daily routine of 2012. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Rintoul | 1/5/2014

    " Less scattered then ON the Road, but the thoughts and ideas it deals with are more fleshed out, and was an absolute pleasure to read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 1/3/2014

    " I'm listening to this book as I commute from Marin to Berkeley and it links me to the early days of beat and buddhism "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ara | 1/2/2014

    " This book is amazing. Every sentence pulses with beauty and truth. The characters are beautiful, especially Japhy. It's wiser than On the Road, and it made a bigger impact on me. I got a lot out of this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 bob_slocum | 12/9/2013

    " Go away, thieves of the mind! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tiina | 12/1/2013

    " Nicely flowing well pictured story but I wouldn't read it twice "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KathyC | 11/20/2013

    " I found The Dharma Bums on the coffee table in our house a couple of months ago -- my teenage son was checking out Kerouac. I'd read it back in the day ... was lukewarm about it then and now. The man was troubled. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry | 11/14/2013

    " An amazing adventure story best read before the age of 25. Kerouac's slippery understanding of Buddhism is a bore, but his love of life propels this book through the wild nature and the '50s counterculture of the west coast. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Shanley | 11/11/2013

    " Loved the Gary Snyder connection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Stangle | 10/30/2013

    " It was a recommended book I read in 2002 so my memory of it isnt so great. I did like the zen ideal in the story. Kerouac is such a vivid writer and his search away from people was introspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Guy | 9/29/2013

    " BV puts this as one of her favourite books. But... I almost didn't finish it. It was fun enough, and some of the writing was quite beautiful. But I found it rather empty, although I am tempted to say "vacuous" instead of empty. And dissipative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd Lang | 9/7/2013

    " Better than "on the road" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlie | 7/3/2013

    " good stuff. paints a very human portrait of kerouac, whom i had previously just viewed as a literary god. there isn't a ton of depth here, and the prose does get clunky sometimes, but there are times when it truly accomplishes the simplistic, beautiful truth it sets out to convey. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MM | 3/30/2013

    " Fun to read this again -- yikes it's been 20 years? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joan | 1/18/2013

    " Too much bum, not enough dharma. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent Coulson | 11/20/2012

    " What can you say, either you love Kerouac's style or you don't. I appreciate his story, his passion and his freedom to discover life. I've read it before and I'll probably read it again in another 20 years. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jason | 9/18/2012

    " Gave Kerouac a second chance some 20 years after reading On The Road. Still not for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoffrey | 6/28/2012

    " nice view of Gary Snyder - but Kerouac's trip up the mountain is sad... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 4/29/2012

    " Took some time to get used Kerouac's style but once you do it is am excellent read. One of my favorites, simply a joy to read and reread. My favorite Kerouac. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 11/4/2011

    " Interesting, but not my cup of tea. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Dziennik | 10/19/2011

    " It read a lot better when I was 22. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ariel | 6/18/2011

    " 63% Kerouac's bullshit, 37% fascinating cultural artifact. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 5/22/2011

    " Found this book very entertaining and it is what has sparked an interest into meditation for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthony | 5/9/2011

    " Not the Road, but a good book all the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donnie | 5/6/2011

    " Even beggining to talk about this book is challenging. While stumbling on a cosmic truth does not entirelly suits the universal balance, self-induced illumination has got buddha nature. Nirvana can arrive at any time, and then, we'll throw in one hellu'va party. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 5/5/2011

    " Vintage Kerouac. He is happy and free and it continually makes you want to enter his world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 5/2/2011

    " In a very real sense, this book can save your soul. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 4/26/2011

    " Major influence on my life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 4/23/2011

    " While I wasn't hooked on Kerouac from On The Road, I throughly enjoyed The Dharma Bums. A great read. After this book I'm ready to be a bum the rest of my life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 4/10/2011

    " I read this book twice in the span of only (maybe) six months. That is all I need to say. I look forward to future readings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clay | 4/10/2011

    " What can I say...
    I just can't get enough of Kerouac and each time I enter with hesitancy, I become drawn in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashleigh | 4/8/2011

    " Not my favourite Jack Kerouac. Although I liked the writing style (a typical Kerouac style) I wasn't fond of the religious over tones. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caelyn | 3/27/2011

    " Get out of the woods. It's not hard. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zoo | 3/25/2011

    " The mature "on the road", where Kerouac turns his gaze inward, but still likes the wine. "

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About the Author
Author Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. He attended local Catholic schools and eventually Columbia University, becoming in the late 1940s and early 1950s a member of what was soon to be called “the beat generation.” His first novel appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that epitomized to the world the beat philosophy. This novel created a sensation by chronicling a spontaneous and wandering way of life in a style that seemed founded both on jazz and on drug-induced visions. Kerouac published several novels, and Mexico City Blues is a volume of his poetry. 

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.