a frank character standing by a road with a handwritten sign

The Dharma Bums

by Jack Kerouac Author

A semi-fictional story of a freewheeling road trip and spiritual quest. Ray Smith and Japhy Ryder, two friends loosely based on author Jack Kerouac and fellow Beat Generation poet Gary Snyder, hitchike through the US west, seeking jazz, poetry, drunken highs, and Zen enlightenment. They skip between madcap urban adventures and tranquil natural explorations. Better-written than On the Road, this book has a similar energy and was published just a year later.