Monday, June 27, 2011

Reading Rainbow: Post Office by Charles Bukowski

Let us begin this post with a warning for the men out there: Do not read this book concurrently with Nick Cave's The Death of Bunny Munro unless you want to feel like the worst person alive.

With that warning out of the way, this was my first experience with Bukowski. Weird, I know, but I finally got around to it. As an introduction Post Office was a perfectly suitable introduction. It seemed an apt representation of what I had expected a Bukowski novel to be. The bouncing around from one dysfunctional sexual relationship to another was present. Many trips to the race track were there. Alcohol was Henry Chinaski's lifeblood. Countless hours were spent a meaningless job in which Chinaski's apathy plays to great comic effect.

Given what I knew of Bukowski, this was an acerbic gem of a novel that reads effortlessly. While his prose is generally simple, it suits the directness of Chinaski, the first-person narrator. While Chinaski is essentially adrift in a world populated by fellow lowlifes and obstructionist bureaucrats, both of which serve as comic foils for his selfish and anti-social behavior.

While I wouldn't recommend reading Bukowski concurrently with Bunny Munro unless you want to feel like a total bastard, Post Office was a helluva read. There were more than a handful of times in which I found myself laughing aloud. Is it high-art? Probably not. But fuck Ulysses.

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