Books: The Yabyum Kid

THE DHARMA BUMS (244 pp.)—Jack Kerouac—Viking ($3.95).

Jack (On the Road) Kerouac might have called his latest novel On the Trail, or How the Campfire Boys Discovered Buddhism. The book is less frantic than On the Road, less sexy than The Subterraneans, but it reconfirms Kerouac's literary role as a kind of Tom Thumb Wolfe in hip clothing. Like other Kerouac novels, the book has the sound of jazzed-up autobiography, and the most fictional thing about it may well be the brand of Buddhism (ostensibly Zen) that the beat hero and his pals preach and practice.

Holy Concubines. The novel's first-person narrator, Ray...

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