RE : RARA-AVIS: Bukowski

From: E. Borgers (
Date: 03 Jan 2007

  As you may know, Bukowski is an atypical writer.
  His life is probably something hard-boiled by itself, but his refusal of a normal life and the rest of his personality is really a voluntarily "anti-establishment" statement. Add to this a lifelong alcoholism.
  In my book, the guy is sincere. Maybe not for everyone's taste, but sincere with himself and with his readers.
  And… he's a real author. No doubt about it.
  Most of his prose writings are short novels, novellas, assembled in volumes. And mostly autobiographical.
  If you want to discover Bukowski, I suggest:
  "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" (a must)
  "Erections, ejaculations, exhibitions and general tales of ordinary madness"
  "The most beautiful Woman in the World"
  There is also a fantastic documentary, filmed at his house during the last years of his life wherein he opens himself and explains a little how he works.
  I remember also (I saw it at the time- live on TV), a long time ago (end of the seventies), when in Paris, he was invited to a kind of literary talk show, leaded by Bernard Pivot, in prime time on French TV.
  A lot of local writers discussed and were interviewed by Pivot while Bukowski was waiting in a armchair on the set for his turn to be interviewed… with two bottles of excellent white wine near him. The other guests were not exactly intelligent or good writers. During the "preaching" of a kind of woman writer with a "stiff upper lip", Bukowski suddenly stood up an screamed: "Make this idiot female shut up !! She's f…g wrong and stupid…" (something of that order).
  And, believe me, he was right. Really right. Maybe not polite, but right. This self proclaimed female writer was just an arrogant literary piece of sh… Pivot lost his temper, but Buk did not speak only because of the wine as Pivot tried to explain later. Buk's judgement was correct and he was fed up by the arrogance and self-satisfaction of most of the guests. This explaining that.

Michael Robison <> a 飲it : One thing I caught in Hannah's noir article was a reference to Bukowski's writing. He mentioned Factotum and something else.

I'm wanting to give Bukowski a shot. I'd like two types of recommendations. The first I'd like is what you'd recommend as his best, across the board. The second is what would you recommend by him that is within the hardboiled or noir genre.


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