Charles Bukowski

Bukowsi in action.

Years ago I decided to buy and read On The Road by Jack Keraouc. I couldn’t even get past the first few chapters it was such tripe. Disjointed and self-indulgent, I missed the whole point and for a book that was written by the supposed Voice of The Beat Generation, I thought it was absolute shite. I wanted my money and my one hour back.Then, recently, Jeff was watching the movie Barfly with Mickey Rourke and he told me it was based on a writer called Charles Bukowski. This guy was apparently a bit of an iconic legend ( can you be both ?) and also lived through the Beat scene so I thought I would give him a go.

First I read Women. This was a story about Henry Chinaski, a writer and poet of some fame who busied himself with drinking and womanising.The book is clearly based on Bukowski’s own mid -life but after a few chapters it became pretty repetitive and boring BUT I did like his writing style so I returned that book to Jeff’s library and used my Compound Library Card to go again.

Yesterday I knocked over Factotum in about 4 hours. This book sees Chinaski in his early twenties during post-WW2 drifting from job to job ,state to state and ..yes..womanising and drinking heavily.Now….I am generally suspicious of books I can read that fast. They mostly scream NO DEPTH !! to me. Factotum was a little lacking in depth however it was a much better read than Women and some of the things that come from Bukowski’s pen make for memorable quotes. One thing I did pick up on is that in one scene set in the 1940s, he gets arrested for drunken driving and is asked to “blow in the balloon” by the cops. What the hell ? When did American introduce breathalysing ? Anyone ? I would like to get this movie on DVD as I am a big Matt Dillon fan.
Next up. Notes of a Dirty Old Man. The title promises greatness. I hope it delivers.
You can read about Charles Bukowksi on Wikipedia here

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One Response to Charles Bukowski

  1. The Koala Lumpur says:

    Right on Justin. I only got 2/3 of the way thru "On The Road" too. I think it was a relevant book in it's time, but it comes across as an outdated sax solo now.

    I thought Factotum was a fun & easy read, but kind of bland overall. I don't think Bukowski is the greatest novelist of all time, but I do think his (anti-)poetry contains flashes of immortality. Great collections include "War All The Time", "Last Night Of The Earth Poems" and "Slouching Toward Nirvana" to name a few. Too many good collections to list actually …

    Happy readin & writin

    Cheers JG 🙂

    GH

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