Thursday, September 1, 2011

Post Office

Charles Bukowski's first novel, published in 1971. I liked it.

John Martin of Black Sparrow Press offered Bukowski, at that time noted more for poetry than prose, $100/month to quit the post office and write full time. As poetry did (and does) not sell, Bukowski wrote Post Office, which is a fictional account of Bukowski's life from the early 1950's to 1969 when he quit the post office once and for all.

Bukowski transforms himself into Henry Chinaski and the women in his life into beautiful nymphomaniacs, tragic alcoholics, and free living hipsters. Chinaski is no sucker, he detests the work ethic and the colateral death march. He enjoys pretty girls, the race track and plenty of liquor with which to chase it all. He has no real philosophy, no selfless ambition, cares for everyone, but mostly for himself.

Post Office is written in very short chapters, many only a half page long, slices of life. Bukowski's prose is simple, fresh and direct. The tone never changes, the essence of the experiences never changes, yet Bukowski kept me reading, reading 'til the the very end. I didn't feel disappointed; I didn't feel cheated.

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