Friday, 24 April 2009

Charles Bukowski: Factotum

This is the poorest Bukowski novel I have read so far, which is not to say that it is entirely bad.

The book's last line is a statement of impotence: "I couldn't get it up." This detail is telling, for the novel describes an endless parade of deadend jobs with a listless sensibility; while the writing about women displays a love-hate attitude. Bukowski casually states that you will never find a women on skid row. The implication is that a woman would quicker use her body, (either professionally or under the guise of a relationship)- than slide to the bottom of the slippery slope.

It is a frustrating read. One wonders if Bukowski was being entirely honest with himself. Still, as a work of fiction it does describe accurately a particular attitude towards women. In particular, as a study of powerlessness and how this can effect male sexuality.

If this was the first book of Bukowski's I had picked up- I would not be tempted to try another; which is a shame.

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