"The Dharma Bums" appeared just one year after the author's explosive "On The Road" had put the Beat Generation on the literary map and Kerouac on the best-seller list. The same expansiveness, humour and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novels sparks this one too, but through a more cohesive story. The books follow two young men 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.
Up for air after The Subterraneans- way up (mountain climbing is the new kick) are the Dharma Bums, Ray Smith, Japhy Ryder- a high-domed hepcat, and some of their Zen Lunatic friends who have been chewing their cuds, sipping muscatel, junking, holding Zen Fun Love Orgies (no celibate Buddhists these) in the cellars of San Francisco. Under the influence of Japhy, Ray is also introduced to the simpler splendors of the great outdoors- the cook-out and the sleeping bag- as well as the happy abandon of "leaping and yelling from crag to crag" on a big climb. They come down and Ray travels home (the transcontinental transcendentalism of On The Road here), hoofs it back from North Carolina to go up Desolation Peak- looking for the Great Truth, after the months of "cut-off-ness, snipped, blownoutness, putoutness, turned-off-ness, nothing-happens- ness, gone-ness, gone-out-ness".... There, high on a hilltop, it is revealed, the search ends- and except for those dedicated, nirvana will never have seemed nearer. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Penguin Classics Ser.
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 3rd August 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.0 x 12.7 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.16
Edition Number: 1