Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

Post Office – Review

Post OfficePost Office
by Charles Bukowski
Ecco, 1971
ISBN 0876850867
208 pages

Charles Bukowski’s cult following with the disillusioned youth of the nation is quite clearly explained once you pick up any of his written work, be it poetry, short stories, or his novels. I read Post Office, and then started reading a few of his short stories and could immediately understand the attraction. From other reviews I’ve read of his works, it seems that Bukowski has a hit a key that beat writers could not match. Although he’s never cited among the beat writers, Bukowski’s writing did remind me Kereuac’s On The Road.

In Post Office, Bukowski’s writing is a realistic portrayal of one Hank Chinaski, a frustrated, stubborn alcoholic working for the post-office. Hank Chinaski seems to be Bukowski’s alter ego, as Hank makes an appearance in a number of Bukowski novels. The novel spans eleven years, broken into five sections, of Hank’s life working for the post office, his numerous liasions with women, and his innate ability to always question authority, always push the buttons. This novel is a true I-hate-my-job story, especially since the first line of the novel says “It began as a mistake.” Somehow Chinaski stayed with the postal service for eleven years, leaving the job just as poor and beat-down as he was when he first took on the job. Although he seems rough on the edges, Chinaski is a decent guy, just trying to enjoy his life. Teens will read this book because of its portrayal of real life as something ugly and hard, since the narrator is constantly misunderstood by those in authority around him. This might also explain why every novel by Bukowski is labeled as “missing” in most library catalogs.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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Friday Finds 8/1/2008

I think I already shared all my new finds on Wednesday after my venture into Leigh’s Bookstore. But I did come across some new titles at the library this week also.

White Teeth: A Novel by Zadie Smith (Paperback – Jun 12, 2001) I’ve this author’s name quite a bit, and reading through the first few pages of this book, it seems like it will make for a good read.
Geekspeak: How Life + Mathematics = Happiness by Graham Tattersall and Julie Rigby (Hardcover – Sep 30, 2008). This I picked up from the main selectors for my library to read and review for the entire system.
One Red Paperclip: Or How an Ordinary Man Achieved His Dream with the Help of a Simple Office Supply by Kyle Macdonald (Paperback – Aug 21, 2007). This book was originally an article published in a couple Bay Area newspapers about a man who used Craigslist.com to keep trading items. He started with one red paperclip and traded his way to a Kiss rock concert and eventually to a house. I thought the article was incredibly interesting, but I’m not sure how much they can stretch a story like that into an entire book form.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard EditionThe Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition. Apparently JK Rowling has another book out. I haven’t heard of this one before. It was released December 2007. A good read for all Harry Potter Fans.