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One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.

Topics: Beat Generation, Alcoholism, Sex, Gambling, Made into a Movie, Unemployment, Prostitution, Dark, Black Humor, Gritty, Bawdy, Violent, Poetry, Los Angeles, Short stories, Semi-Autobiographical, and 1970s

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061842412
List price: $8.99
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Henry Chinaski travels throughout the U.S., usually by bus, occasionally writing, and losing odd jobs with frequency. “I always started a job with the feeling that I’d soon quit or be fired, and this gave me a relaxed manner that was mistaken for intelligence or some secret power.” He engages in his time-honored pursuits: drinking, sex, gambling and getting arrested. “Disturbing the peace was one of my favorites.” These are usually what cause him to lose jobs.Henry’s a misanthrope, or at least claims to be. Maybe he has cause. A woman asks him: “Your parents hated you, right?” “Right.”Chinaski claims he’d rather be alone: “I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me.” But Chinaski always has a woman, preferably one that drinks as hard as him.What characterizes Chinaski is his refusal to accept the conditions of life as it has become: “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed.” He rages against it the entire book.read more
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In the words of Bukowski, pretty shitty, vulgar and uninterestingread more
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Definatly Buk. The drinking, the women, but much of the Bukowski pathos is missing and the stories seem disconnected and sometimes just depressing without the usual Buk insight. Average Buk read only for the real fan.read more
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Reviews

Henry Chinaski travels throughout the U.S., usually by bus, occasionally writing, and losing odd jobs with frequency. “I always started a job with the feeling that I’d soon quit or be fired, and this gave me a relaxed manner that was mistaken for intelligence or some secret power.” He engages in his time-honored pursuits: drinking, sex, gambling and getting arrested. “Disturbing the peace was one of my favorites.” These are usually what cause him to lose jobs.Henry’s a misanthrope, or at least claims to be. Maybe he has cause. A woman asks him: “Your parents hated you, right?” “Right.”Chinaski claims he’d rather be alone: “I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me.” But Chinaski always has a woman, preferably one that drinks as hard as him.What characterizes Chinaski is his refusal to accept the conditions of life as it has become: “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed.” He rages against it the entire book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In the words of Bukowski, pretty shitty, vulgar and uninteresting
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Definatly Buk. The drinking, the women, but much of the Bukowski pathos is missing and the stories seem disconnected and sometimes just depressing without the usual Buk insight. Average Buk read only for the real fan.
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I didn't like it much. Full of overdrinking and seamy sex. It is supposed to be funny but I only laughed at one situation and a few others were mildly humourous. The whole way through it was the same to the last sentance: Going from one job to another, one drinking bout to another, one loveless sex act to another. It was unrelenting bum living.
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Bukowski is great, but of the novels of his I've read (Post Office, Women, Ham on Rye) this was the least good. The drift from job to job, woman to woman and beer to beer didn't quite add up to something satisfying. There are some great scenes and observations, but they are too sparse even in such a short novel to make it excellent in the way those other novels are. Worth a read if you're a fan, but I'd recommend starting elsewhere if you haven't read him yet.
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Some may disagree but they are probably wrong or just trying to be different, this is Bukowski's best novel. It picks up at the end of Ham on Rye when his lifestyle is just taking full swing and discusses his alcoholism, subjugation of women, violence, alcoholism, and negligence of duty in WWII a very admittance regardless of time, place and persona.
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