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This is a very short novel - 160 pages - and it's just as well otherwise I would not have finished it.

 

The prose is good but the rest of it isn't, imho.  The story is about a man who ends up spending most of his time working in the post office.  There is a lot of sex in the novel and the narrator sizes up every woman he meets on a sexual basis. It is a product of it's time, written in 1971 and that's pretty much how the world was back then. 

 

I did contemplate abandoning the book when I got to page 100 but carried on since I was so close to the end. 

 

The blurb on the book is that Bukowski is one of the significant writers of the 20th century.  Maybe I missed something - this is his debut novel after all -  but I don't see that.  Not recommended.

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On October 19, 2017 at 01:56, lunababymoonchild said:

This is a very short novel - 160 pages - and it's just as well otherwise I would not have finished it.

 

The prose is good but the rest of it isn't, imho.  The story is about a man who ends up spending most of his time working in the post office.  There is a lot of sex in the novel and the narrator sizes up every woman he meets on a sexual basis. It is a product of it's time, written in 1971 and that's pretty much how the world was back then. 

 

I did contemplate abandoning the book when I got to page 100 but carried on since I was so close to the end. 

 

The blurb on the book is that Bukowski is one of the significant writers of the 20th century.  Maybe I missed something - this is his debut novel after all -  but I don't see that.  Not recommended.

I'm not surprised that you didn't enjoy this book, for several reasons. First off, unless there is at least an inclination towards egregious participation in a variety of vices, his lifestyle makes no sense. 

Secondly, there are very few feminists who are fans of Bukowski. But it is important to note that he wasn't merely a misogynist. He was a misanthrope. He has a line someplace, when white supremacists are trying to recruit him, to the effect that "...I hate everybody, regardless of race, creed, religion, color, or sexual orientation." People are always a means to an end for him. 
And third, it is not his best novel. Ham on Rye and Pulp are much better. But Bukowski is a better short story writer than novelist. And he shines best as a poet. Because in his poetry, which is totally accessible and almost devoid of lyricism, some of that tough guy armor is stripped away and you see how deeply he is affected by the pain and suffering in the world, and you realize that the drinking and gambling and whoring are all defense mechanisms against feeling that pain. 

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On ‎19‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 09:56, lunababymoonchild said:

This is a very short novel - 160 pages - and it's just as well otherwise I would not have finished it.

 

The prose is good but the rest of it isn't, imho.  The story is about a man who ends up spending most of his time working in the post office.  There is a lot of sex in the novel and the narrator sizes up every woman he meets on a sexual basis. It is a product of it's time, written in 1971 and that's pretty much how the world was back then. 

 

I did contemplate abandoning the book when I got to page 100 but carried on since I was so close to the end. 

 

The blurb on the book is that Bukowski is one of the significant writers of the 20th century.  Maybe I missed something - this is his debut novel after all -  but I don't see that.  Not recommended.

 

Have men stopped sizing up women on a sexual basis? Or stopped admitting it?

 

 

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12 hours ago, Dan said:

I'm not surprised that you didn't enjoy this book, for several reasons. First off, unless there is at least an inclination towards egregious participation in a variety of vices, his lifestyle makes no sense. 

Secondly, there are very few feminists who are fans of Bukowski. But it is important to note that he wasn't merely a misogynist. He was a misanthrope. He has a line someplace, when white supremacists are trying to recruit him, to the effect that "...I hate everybody, regardless of race, creed, religion, color, or sexual orientation." People are always a means to an end for him. 
And third, it is not his best novel. Ham on Rye and Pulp are much better. But Bukowski is a better short story writer than novelist. And he shines best as a poet. Because in his poetry, which is totally accessible and almost devoid of lyricism, some of that tough guy armor is stripped away and you see how deeply he is affected by the pain and suffering in the world, and you realize that the drinking and gambling and whoring are all defense mechanisms against feeling that pain. 

 

Thank you Dan, that makes a lot of sense.  I did know that he hated everybody so took him as a misanthrope but not encouraged to read something else by him.

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Just read it. Loved it.

 

It took a while for me to get into it and I wasn't really grabbed until Joyce showed up and it became more than just a constant slew of references to fat asses and being hungover. I struggled a little to get used to the simplicity of the prose (not what I'm used to) and the varied and indiscriminate lengths of each chapter.

 

But yeah, once he met Joyce I was pretty much hooked. 

 

I avoided Bukowski for years because every dating profile I ever read always mentioned him as their favourite writer so I came to the conclusion that he was some kind of hipster f**kwit's wet dream. And while I can see why he appeals to post-modern , skinny-jean-wearing Starbucks frequenters, I think he deserves a better reputation than that (admittedly based on this one reading). I will definitely investigate his other work though. Having read the book, I'm further confused about the OP suggesting that expression of sexual attraction to women is "a product of it's time." Really? We can't want to f**k women? Not even in our heads?

Edited by hux

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On ‎13‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 07:25, itsmeagain said:

Bukowski sounds a bit of a prat really.

 

He's fast becoming one of my favourite writers. 

 

In a era of the tedious, the politically correct, the same monotonous voice expressing the same tepid opinions about the world, he's frankly a God.

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