“Factotum”, by Charles Bukowski, Twitter version:

“Man loses job, loses job, loses job, loses boner. The end.”

I mean…. I’ve read worse. A lot worse. I’ve slogged through novels by contemporary writers with a lot deeper misogyny and a lot less point: all trying to be Charles Bukowski no doubt. I daresay “your writing reminds me of Charles Bukowski” might be one of the best double-edged compliments I can think of: you might be a great novelist speaking to an underserved voice of the disenfranchised within a generation. Or you might just be revolting.

But I didn’t actually hate it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. There were some evocative turns of phase like “butterfat little piglet” and “a knitted dress that fit her like a balloon fits the trapped air”. I felt some things (mostly like I ought to take a shower, but also like it was a little bit delightful to be filthy). It didn’t go anywhere, but that might’ve been the point.

So all in all I’ll probably give Chuck another chance. I hear “Ham on Rye” is the way to go amongst the novels, but that his real mastery is in his poems. I’m not much of a one for poetry, but I suspect that the poetic works of Bukowski are not going to be as poncy as, say, Byron.

Worth a shot.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 23, 2018.

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