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 best-seller lists. The same expansiveness, humor, and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novel ignites this one....Continua
I think I've written elsewhere that my problem with Kerouac is that, while I often feel attracted to his books, they tend to disappoint me most of the time. I consistently end up with the feeling that his work is just not all that was cracked up to be. Yes, perhaps his approach to writing was somehow innovative at the time. However, several decades after he became known for his "automatic writing" (more a myth than a reality) connected to the rhythms of jazz, I think the innovation of the method has definitely worn out. The same can be said about the fact that he covers regular, everyday issues that happen to normal folks. OK, it's a new form of realism, sure. However, it was more of a novelty back in the 1950s than now, I'm afraid. On the other hand, the feeling I get is that: 1) He was not nearly as interesting of a guy as he thought he was; 2) Most of the things he did with his friends were actually quite normal; and 3) When it comes to philosophy and oriental religions, he is the master of the superficial approach. Kerouac was mostly about drink-drink-drink, as apparently even his friends told him in a few occasions.
In any case, this volume may be, together with "On the Road", one of the few books of his that can be savaged....Continua
Kerouac <I>Dharma Bums</I>
I thought this was very enjoyable. I always feel a bit trepidations reading books about Buddhism by westerners, but Kerouac had won me over by referring to Zen Buddhism as Chan in <I>Big Sur</I> so thought I’d read this to see what it was like. Love of nature and hiking are probably not my favourite topics for a book, but still I found this enjoyable. I did go and find the Chinese poet they were reading, and enjoyed reading his poems. There were interesting contrasts between the isolation of the mountains and the crazy parties at their friends. It was interesting to see that his friend lecture him about his alcohol intake, and then forgive him. It felt very odd to have him visit Seattle and know the area he was talking about. The whole ending felt rather dream like and unreal. But still an enjoyable book....Continua
Possibly his best book, although the sequel "Desolation Angels" may be my favorite.
i found it in one of my travels. i was in a hostel in Ireland, and someone left it; as it's my Kerouac's favorite book, and i read it three times or more in italian, i took it and started reading it in english.
the back cover is missing, the pages have browned, but it's still a pleasant book and it led me to service as a volunteer fire sentinel years ago!