Re: RE : RARA-AVIS: Bukowski

From: davividavid (
Date: 03 Jan 2007

i grew up here in southern california, and as a kid i couldn't understand why most people thought everything was just a-ok in spite of all the nuclear bombs pointed it your head and all that shit. if it weren't for sneak-reading bukowski books inside my textbook in junior high school, i might have been worse off, but he made me laugh at the horror of human failure and also want to write about it. and i wouldn't have discovered john fante, nathaniel west, and subesequently the hard-boiled/noir novels that along with scotch, writing, and my hot girlfriend make life worthwhile.

for miker, i'm gonna argue that you might want to skip the short story collections recommended by others (hot water music, tales of ordinary madness, etc.) and skip straight to the novels. buk's poetry and stories are funny and sad and insane, but he is best as a novelist. these are his best, i think:

Post Office Women Ham On Rye Factotum

as for which fit into the noir tradition, i'd say none of them. he never deals with crime in his novels. he just writes about drinking, fighting, screwing, cooking beans, and what it's like to be a loser. his prose style is always spare and direct like much hardboiled. but his nihilism is very self-reflexive. he never seems as despairing as say our man of the month David Goodis, but he seems more defiantly unconstrained by the need for something to happen than any noir writer i can think of. sometimes i think i've outgrown him, but i still have a heart for him. he was an ugly pockmarked son of a bitch and his father was a dick. but he showed them all & became famous and even a kind of rock star. and he would've probably been happy for a visit from vickie or any woman till the very end.

maybe a 20 year later revisit to the above novels is in order.


--- In, vhend1234@... wrote:
> That sounds like a wonderful idea. I'll put it on my list, but you should
> see this place. I could get rid of the walls and just let the books hold up the
> ceiling.
> Vicki
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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