The best of Bukowski's novels, stories, and poems, this collection reads like an autobiography, relating the extraordinary story of his life and offering a sometimes harrowing, invariably exhilarating reading experience. A must for this counterculture idol's legion of fans.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I would probably start with post office, then go to his novel women, but not if you're a woman. This book is great in that it dips into all his great titles such as Ham on Rye and Hollywood and you really get the flavour of his writing arc from when he first recounted his early days, through his crazy,despairing and rambunctious later years and up to his more genial old age. Through it all the one adjective to describe him is sincere. I don't mean honest necessarily but he is often that, but he always expresses the essence of what he was going through. Sometimes that was hellish, sometimes creepy, sometime hilarious, at other times mad, sordid or poetic. Uncle Charles would have given you the low down on it all as he saw it and all in his unpretentious Hemingway-esque style. Not many writers have a movie made about their life (Barfly was about his not so alterego Hank), and Californication is a series where the lead character Hank has a life that reads from the great man's...
You must read this.
Bukowski is one of those writers I have heard about but never read. His work is described as gritty, realistic, and alcohol-driven. All that is true, but there is so much more here. This collection combines parts of his novels, poems, and other writings to form what is basically an autobiography. Since much of Bukowski's fiction concerned a writer who was a thinly veiled version of himself, the concept works very well. The prose portions here are incredibly well written, providing an utterly real picture of America from the late 1920s to the early 1990s (Bukowski died in 1994). He tells of his dysfunctional family, especially his father, his struggle with terrible skin problems, his happy discovery of alcohol, his life in Los Angeles, his travels to New Orleans and other places, and his many many relationships with women. There isn't a dull moment. At times, his story reminded me of some of Charles Willeford's works, particularly PICK UP, which share the...
I know a lot of people consider this book to be insufficient when it comes to Bukowski (specially due to the fact he was such a prolific writer), but I believe it's a decent, comprehensive introduction to his work. I really like the way the stories and poems have been presented in a chronological order, as they relate to Bukowski's own life. It was nice to re-read parts from certain books, put in a different context.
And it's a good book to have on the go, because it's filled with poems and tales that can be read in any order you please... and trust me, there's enough material to keep you entertained for hours.
I do wish certain stories and poems had been included, but honestly they were of my personal predilection and perhaps would not fit in the idea Mr. John Martin had for the book. In any case, as a Bukowski fan, I do recommend this for anyone who wants to get a taste of his writing, or one volume that contains a great variety of his work. It's surely the...
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