Sunday, September 08, 2013

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Never been a fan.  Read WOMEN many years ago, enjoyed for the gratuitous sex and booze, seen a couple of poems over the year.  Always thought he was sort of monotonic, a scenester, beat literature for the lazy, writing for those not serious about writing.

This is some book, though.  Apparently a late novel, it is the early years of Bukowski's autobiographical alter ego Henry Chinaski.  Poor to a poor family, beaten by his father several times a week for five years as a child, Chinaski never gets a break.  Ugly (afflicted with serious skin problems, boils and acne), poor, unloved and unlovable, Henry survives on his stubborness alone, eventually developing a supremely cynical toughness.  He is dangerously uncaring about his fate in the world.

Prose is workmanlike but relentless. Couldn't really put it down.  Now lining up the collected poems to read, and the other novels.

No comments: