by Charles Bukowski

Paperback, 1978




Santa Barbara, Calif. : Black Sparrow Press, 1978.


Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova. With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lukeasrodgers
The semi-autobiographical tale of Henry "Hank" Chinaski, a self-described "dirty old man," an alcoholic misogynist loner semi-famous poet with bad teeth, an ugly face, poor fashion, great legs, and an uncanny ability to attract women twenty to thirty years younger than himself. The story follows
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Hank through his exploits with women, so numerous that by the end of the book you've lost track of how many he's been with and anything about their personality. Hank is a "researcher" of women, trying to learn about their essence through relationships varying from a sight-unseen two-and-a-half year marriage to the several day tryst.

In addition to being a ladies man, Hank is also a prodigious drinker, mostly it seems of beer and vodka-7s. He generally hates listening to stereo systems, though a moderately volumed Randy Newman or some German classical composers are okay, and he avoids other writers like the plague. One of the book's memorable scenes includes him sharing a hotel with William Burroughs, and neither of them giving a fuck about meeting the other.

Chinaski is a pathetic sack of shit, but one you can love.
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LibraryThing member Quixada
Pure crap.
And I love his poetry.
I even enjoyed Post Office and Factotum.
But this novel just shows what a miserable human being he was.
He was vain.
He was selfish.
He objectified women.

Just take this snippet:

At ten AM I went down for breakfast. I found Pete and Selma. Selma looked great. How did
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one get a Selma? The dogs of this world never ended up with a Selma. Dogs ended up with dogs. Selma served us breakfast. She was beautiful and one man owned her, a college professor. That was not quite right, somehow. Educated hotshot smoothies. Education was the new god, and educated men the new plantation masters.

This book removed Bukowski from my favorite authors list.
At least he was honest.
He was right:
Dogs end up with dogs.
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LibraryThing member questbird
Charles Bukowski writes about a time in his life when his success as a writer attracts many women. And, like a sex-starved teenager, he takes advantage of every opportunity. Bukowski's addict character Chinaski boozes and fucks his way through a sequence of short-lived relationships. Some of these
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end messily, some cordially. Most end some time after the next has begun. They become a little repetitive after a while: Chinaski gets some fan mail, agrees to meet the woman at the airport; they drink and have sex. Bukowski describes the women, the sex, and himself unflinchingly and unflatteringly but with some humour. I quite liked his honesty. He avoids other writers (and people in general) but when he does encounter others' writings or poems he is straight and objective in his assessment of their work. Chinaski does not reform; he is happy with his drinking and his low, seedy, misanthropic lifestyle. At the end however he gives a hint of becoming slightly less selfish.
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LibraryThing member entredeux
An 18+ novel that reads like a children's book. This autobiographical recollection of Bukowski's encounter with woman after woman after woman (after woman) doesn't have a specific message, but it serves as a brutally honest look at the character's degenerate lifestyle as a womanizing alcoholic.
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Chinaski often questions why women give him the time of day, given he's a total low-life...but whatever he's doing as a newly famous poet certainly is garnering attention from ladies far more interesting than he. The contrast between his pathetic ways and the lifestyles of some of the women that pursue him is large (belly dancers, health nuts, promoters, etc.).

I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about the ease with which Chinaski beds women, but the plot repeats itself over and over again with a new woman each time until finally he's forced to realize that he's a scumbag and that he needs to change his ways and treat women with respect and dignity. I can't say I got much out of it, except for a few laughs and one particularly striking characteristic: amidst all the drinking, sex, and laziness that is Chinaski's life and thought process, we are hit with "pangs" of wisdom and emotional introspection about both himself and society. As though throughout the monotonous life of drinking and affairs, there's still a true human being somewhere in there. Wouldn't read again.
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LibraryThing member roblong
Chinaski/Bukowski drinks his way from woman to woman, showing it up along the way as a desperately dull way to live. Some of the writing is startlingly, put-the-book-down good, but as a reading experience the book dies around two-thirds of the way through, as the monotony of his life drowns
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everything else out. It’s a trudge after that, but then that’s probably the point. Bukowski was not an admirable guy, but if you haven’t picked him up, you’re missing out.
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LibraryThing member babiblack
I finished to read "Ask The Dust", by John Fante, when was suggested me to read this book. It's really similar, but Henry Chinaski has something different from the other guy. He's more unusual, more shameless, seems to be more talented and lucky. I like the way he moves from one situation to
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another, and, in the middle of the book, you're tempted to live like him. In the final, you start to think if you really wanna live like this... So different and absolutely crazy women, in a world of drugs, with no rules and minimal worrings seems to be interessant... At certain point.
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LibraryThing member lucthegreat
Very good. Read it on a snowboard trip to Whistler. Had me laughing out loud and reading passages to Thanos, and you should have seen his eyes pop when he realized that there are actually BOOKS about this kind of stuff. Classic Bukowski.
LibraryThing member eshannon12
If you don't enjoy frequent use of the good old-fashioned "c-word" then stay away from this one.
LibraryThing member caklr650
A good companion piece to read at the same time is "Love is a dog from Hell" Many of the poems in that book we're fleshed "hee hee" out form the stories of reletionships he describes in "Women."
LibraryThing member foomy
Depending on my state of mind, I like the book. In 1996, a close male friend recommended I read this because I reminded him of Linda. It totally rang bells for I was going out with an alcoholic. All stories were really dysfunctional and great!!
LibraryThing member Eamonn12
I think I’m beginning to see that one either likes Bukowski or hates him, and so with his work. Depending on your view, he’s either a dirty old man, extremely male-chauvenistic, outrageously misogynistic, or a straight-forward chronicler as life as it is lived, warts and all, with little (or
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no) time for pretensions and hypocrasies. The truth, I suppose it will be said by fence-sitters, ‘lies somewhere in between’, but I reject that sort of old anodyne hogwash (I’ve been reading a lot of Bukowski) and plump for the latter description.

This book would make ag reat catalyst for another 6th form weary debate on ‘What is Pornography?’ If the graphic depiction of the sexual act, enacted in a wide selection of its possible scenarios, is pornography, then some parts of this work might be classedas pornography. But why always the hang up about sex? Personally I find much of what passes for ‘video games’ (so popular with 6 year-olds upwards) to be extrememly pornographic in that they enact violent, mind-warping scenes in which the consideration for humanlife is non-existent.

OK. Enough soap-boxing already. This book is by turns very funny, very moving and (for me) enlightening on just how it is that Hank Chinasky (aka Charles), despite all the things he does wrong as regards ‘his’ women still emerges as human, and even ‘humane’. As a novel (and it is very episodic but just about qualifies for the genre) it is rather repetitive and a bit sermonising here and there. But it is really enjoyable to read and… Is that not enough?

This is the Virgin Books edition of 2006.
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LibraryThing member MColv9890
This holds a special place for me as the first Bukowski novel I ever read. Much has been said about Bukowski the poet but as a novelist he is equally thought-provoking.
LibraryThing member NickConstantine
The works of Charles Bukowski, for the most part, is a high school parent’s worst nightmare. Aside from some, not all, of his poetry, his writing is of a subject matter close to that of a pornographic movie. He writes through his surrogate, Henry Chinaski, a drunk aspiring writer who values
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drinking and women above all other gods. In Women, Chinaski has finally made it big as a writer and travels the country to do alcohol fueled poetry readings for unruly crowds. As readers work their way through the novel, Chinaski dances from woman to woman like a bee bouncing from flower to flower. He treats women like objects and bottles like women. It is a masterpiece of misogamy. It is darkly, disturbingly funny. It is the kind of book you don’t want your mother to find out you have read. I wouldn’t endorse this book in the classroom, but I would recommend it to a friend with a dirty sense of humor.
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LibraryThing member scatterbrainbucket
The funniest and saddest of the master's work. Lots of sex for those of you who like that. Wink.
LibraryThing member ptdilloway
This book could have been about half the size because it gets really repetitive after a while. But it proves what Sean Connery said in "Finding Forrester": Women will sleep with you even if you write a bad book. (Well, they won't sleep with ME, but I digress...) Overall it's just a string of mostly
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easy women Chinaski has relations with for a short time before either they get tired of him or he gets tired of them. But there are some interesting observations on writing in the book.
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LibraryThing member Salmondaze
Women finds Bukowski (or Chinaski) after he has arrived as a novelist and poet. It's sort of like Factotum except instead of going through a bunch of jobs, he goes through a bunch of women. It doesn't quite reach the high water mark of Factotum, though, because the sex in that smaller book is sexy
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and the low-life of Chinaski works well with the people he interacts with. In fact, I'm going to have to read Factotum again, probably. Anyways, his trademarks are certainly there in this book, they're just not shown to his best like Ham On Rye.
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LibraryThing member sfisk
What can I say, classic Bukowski...
LibraryThing member byebyelibrary
This is a book about a mid-life crisis brought on by mid-life success. After years of living off candy bars and mailing out poems between factory shifts, Chinaski finds himself a minor literary celebrity with groupies. In fact, the book should be called Groupies instead of Women as Chinaski has
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very little interest in women that are not mesmerized by his fame. Chinaski sees the irony in all this and has the decency to despise himself. He wonders if all of his struggles were only about this: art as a path to minor fame as a path to women turned on by celebrities.
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LibraryThing member unclebob53703
My favorite of his "fiction" if you want to call it that, told with unsparing honesty.
LibraryThing member ozzie65
I don’t think the majority of women will enjoy this book. Bukowski had a complicated and conflicted relationship with women and the book (fictional, barely) holds up to the facts of his life.

The women in the book are a strange mélange of characters. There are jealous alcoholics, speed freaks,
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literary groupies and cultured ladies. They are all attracted to the main character, Henry Chinaski, for one reason or another.

Henry has left his job as a postal clerk to pursue his writing full time. He has modest success but that isn’t what this book is about. It is about Henry and the many women who come and go from his life. It is also about how these women accept or reject Henry’s chosen lifestyle: an alcoholic writer.

Many of the women in the story are troubled and the descriptions of them are pretty negative and degrading. It is misogynistic and in scene after scene, we are treated to depictions of Henry using these women as sex objects in very degrading descriptions of sex. On the flip side, many of these women buy into whatever Henry is selling so I suppose you could say it was consenting.

Henry does not hesitate to be equally hard on himself. He is a self-described ugly, dirty drunk with no real prospects. His life revolves around writing, drinking, painting and going to the track. He does readings around the country and frequently hooks up with new women, inviting them to come and stay in his filthy apartment in a seamy side of Hollywood.

Bukowski is who he is and I knew going in what I was getting. This one was not my favorite. I don’t think women will enjoy it much if at all and I think men will like it more but still consider it a guilty pleasure in these overly politically correct times. With that being said, Bukowski is one of those American writers every reader should try at least once.
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LibraryThing member PaulRx04
Another great!
LibraryThing member johnfishlock
LibraryThing member jeffreybrayne
A candid look into the real women who Bukowski actually dated.
LibraryThing member Verge0007
Buckets of ink have been spilled in the praise of this book. Not like it needs more, but here's is my grain of sand.

There’s no way in hell, this novel could’ve been written in this day and age of hyper-sensitive ‘special’ snowflakes—the author would’ve been hanged by the balls and left
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to dry in the hot desert sun for being perceived a misogynist fool (among other things). However, those who dismiss it, fail to see that in order to create something as ballsy and unapologetic as this piece of work. One needs to be brave, and not give a fuck about ruffling any feathers, which remains me; I should read more Charles Bukowski.

Chinaski grabs a beer. Drayer Baba have mercy!
Henry Chinaski is the average Joe, the average nasty sonofabitch, drunken, ugly, and misogynistic poet who beds any c***t who throws herself at him, and they do, by the busloads (some sad, some bonkers, some a combination of both). But hey what’s an old alcoholic at the twilight of his miserable existence to do? Say No? Fuck you buddy! So what if from time to time he can’t get it up? Screw another one because, hey, why the hell not. And so the novel becomes a tad repetitive with the wake up, drink, puke—puke or drink, (been there, done that) go to the race track, do a reading, drink some more, fuck some nubile,(wish I could do this. Often) do a reading, drink, repeat—oh wait, he can’t get it up—okay repeat. Yet it’s done in a raw, funny, repulsive, passionate, honest and breezy way. Midway through the book though, you’ll come to the realization that no one writes this way, meaning; he doesn’t give two fucks about impressing the sneering glitterati. Or anyone. You either like it or hate it, it’s there, raw and festering like a staph infection, or a flower growing in the sewage—take your pick.
Some unexpected insights rewards the readers of this book, with quotes aplenty:

"You're so full of shit!"
I laughed. "That's why I write."

So, if you’re of a sensitive predisposition you might want to steer clear of this one, ya special little snowflake ya. :-)
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