Saturday, 7 March 2009

Charles Bukowski: Post Office

I have just finished the novel 'Post Office' by Charles Bukowski. It is an amazing piece of writing. While it does not try to impress it is impressive. The writing is simple and straight forward. It charts episodes in a eleven year period of a man working a deadbeat job and how such a man still tries to live and enjoy life.

There is much great material here- like how the soups (the supervisors) abuse their position and power and enforce silly rules. How drink and the racetrack counteract such abuse by giving a man a sense of freedom. It also explores racial tension in a period leading up to race riots in LA.

Bukowski's relationship with women is complex. There are moments of vulnerability and sensitivity in this novel while at other times there is a more extreme attitude. He was certainly a product of his 30's upbringing- though this can not excuse some of his more macho stances.

Overall this is still a worthwhile read. It compares well with writers such as Jack Kerouac. Both are great novelists but there is no religious undertones with Bukowski. He is out to make the best of a bad beat. He is not searching for answers but only for a way to survive.

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