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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  49,096 ratings  ·  1,886 reviews

In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D.

Pocket, 320 pages
Published 2008 by l&pm editores (first published 1982)
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Kathrina No, "Becker" died in the War and is unpublished (and an orphan so I hardly doubt we can find those stories now, they probabl got lost).
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So what is a middle-class old woman who seldom drinks and never fights doing reading this book?

Enjoying the hell out of it.

Up until recently, all I knew about Charles Bukowski was what I learned in one of my all time favorite films, ‘Barfly,’ staring the incomparable Mickey Rourke as our antihero Henry Chinaski. If you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that immediately:

This is a world where everybodys gotta do something, gotta be something... sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do.. that I don't wanna be


Henry Chinaski is a bit of a
Glenn Russell

I was sixteen, tan, blonde and good looking, catching waves on my yellow surfboard along with all the other surfers, handsome guys and beautiful gals, each and every day that summer. Little did I know this mini-heaven would quickly end and hell would begin in September. Why? My smooth-skinned tan face turned into an acne-filled mess. I suffered pimple by pimple for three years straight; many fat red pimples popping up every day. Oh, yeah, on my forehead, temples, cheeks, jaw, chin and nose. Unli
Nov 17, 2007 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: truth seekers
It is true that Ham on Rye lacks a serious plot. It is also true that Mr. Bukowski writes in a crude, whiskey soaked style. However, the novel makes up for its deficiencies with a well-honed theme on the bullshit realities of middle-class existence and the ugly truth of how our society deals with those who reject that path. Such a novel should necessarily cause the reader to taste a tinge of bile in his or her throat. If you don't finish the book weary and angry, then you missed the point. As to ...more
It all started in 7th grade with these stupid clubs they made us join. Some kind of “get involved” self esteem horseshit. Every other Friday was club day. An hour before school let out everyone had to pick a club to go to. They gave us a list. I left mine blank, so they put me in the Sports Cards Collecting Club. Better than the Baking Club, I guess. My friend Joe, whose dad was president of the Charles County fire department, didn’t leave his blank. He actually chose the Sports Card Collecting ...more
Arthur Graham
"The first thing I remember is being under something."

So begins this chronicle of the dirty old man's humble beginnings, his formative years, and the myriad oppressions he endured throughout his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. In the most literal sense, this opening line represents baby Hank's first concrete memory, but it also sets the tone for the entire memoir to come. Dedicated to "all the fathers," Ham on Rye is both an indictment of and a tribute to every boss, bully, teacher
My life did not resemble Henry Chinaski's. No abusive father here. No ritualized beatings. No helpless mother. No culture of fighting. One lost fight was enough to teach me the purposelessness of all that. I liked school. Not that I go to the reunions. Sure there was the pimply phase, but nothing like the scourge of boils that rendered Henry a monster.

And yet...and yet...

Something rang so true reading this book. The sense of alienation. The understanding of the absurdity of it all. The rejection
Franco  Santos
Novela autobiográfica de Bukowski. Cruda, cruel, con un lenguaje vulgar y directo. Es un claro reflejo de la miseria humana en la época de la Depresión y la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

El autor nos lleva por los barrios más bajos para que conozcamos qué lo arrastró a su enajenación, a su conducta antisocial y al alcoholismo. Un chico que a partir de una muy temprana edad tuvo que aprender a jugar en la vida con reglas sucias, que fue rechazado por su padre, que fue ignorado por la compasión y que tr
Raegan Butcher
Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers. This is one of his best books. It follows him from the age of five to his early teens. Heartbreaking and hilarious, this book was written at the perfect time by the man himself--if he had been younger it wouldn't have had the wisdom that it contains---this is probably Bukowski at his finest; all of the foundations for his later life and work are laid here: his father's brutality, his mother's complacency, the cruelty of his classmates and his rejec ...more
A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate that reminded them most of themselves.

So I finish with Camus’ ‘The Rebel’ and read this. I loved ‘The Rebel’. I’ve read it twice. I took copious notes. It took me something like three months to read ... again. Then I start reading this on Boxing Day. My sister gave it to me.

I finish it the day after.

This was a great read. I’ve experienced simi
I hate Charles Bukowski.
The person who said "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" was a good place to start when beginning to read Bukowski's works couldn't have been more wrong. "Ham on Rye" is Bukowski at his best, and this memoir allowed me to understand Charles Bukowski and how he later became that "dirty old man." "Ham on Rye," like the later work, is filled with the unflinching honesty so characteristic of Bukowski, but here that honesty is less postured, uses less shock value, and shows the vulnerability underneath the tou ...more
Adam Floridia
I don’t know if this book is supposed to be funny, but I found it freakin’ hilarious. I mean if you stop to think about it, everything in it is really, really depressing. Henry Chinaski’s life is miserable from the moment he’s born—or at least from his first conscious recollection of hiding under a table and listening to angry adults yelling. His father is almost cartoonishly mean throughout, not only to Henry, who receives weekly beatings, but to everyone he encounters—like the old man in the h ...more
im reading this on the plane (qf12) and im nearly done (american term meaning finished). anyway reading it and deborah the chirpy as fuk flight attendant comes over and asks me what i do and i say im a writer and she says to me wow and sees what im reading and says that bokwoski was a very cynical writer. then she pours me a guava juice ('feed the mind') and continues to rattle on about how i NEED TO READ JEFFREY ARCHER and i said im not wild about jeff and she said you have to be open to things ...more
The beginning is funny, but maybe you need a twisted sense of humor like mine.

The language is vulgar. To state otherwise is a pure lie.

The book although fiction very closely follows the author's own youth.

The setting is Los Angeles. The time is 1920-1941, that is to say from Bukowski's own birth to Pearl Harbor. Bukowski's alter-ego is Henry Chinaski, the main character in the book. Wiki states that Bukowski's books are about "the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol,
Feb 16, 2010 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults; Guys
Recommended to Tyler by: Author's Reputation
No matter what, some folks are fated to become low-lifes, streetfighting bums or out-and-out thugs. In this semi-autobiographical account of youth, Charles Bukowski’s dirty realism describes just such a man. Bukowski is rare among outsiders, a poet and prose writer with the credentials to write about a pariah living on the margins.

The previously published Factotum covers Bukowski’s young adulthood. This book describes his growing up prior to World War II in Los Angeles. This book might answer a
Sheyda Heydari Shovir
بنقل از وبلاگ

من دبیرستان بوکوفسکی خونده بودم. در نگاه اول خوشم اومده بود. بعد که از هیجانزدگیم کم شده بود از خودم پرسیدم این همه شلوغی برای چیه. بعدش هم نفرت از برندهای فرهنگی نذاشت برم سمتش.
الان بعد سالها یه شانس دیگه بهش دادم و این کتابشو خوندم. مصممتر شدهم که ترجمه نباید خوند. تجربه خوندن این کتاب و تجربههای چون این مطمئنم کردهند که ترجمه نخونم و توصیه کنم که ترجمه نخونند.
فرق است. در برخورد با ترجمههای بوکوفسکی بنظر میاد که یکی از محصولات کثافت نشر چشمه برای مصرفکن
Jonathan Ashleigh
Charles Bukowski has led me to some amazing books because of what he was about, but this was not one of those books. It was well told, but I personally prefer fiction. The problem with non-fiction is that, whenever you get to a part you enjoy - it doesn't last long. There were parts which were incredible, but then the main character grows to a new part of their life and all of the supporting characters change.
Apr 16, 2014 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you're from hell
Recommended to Mariel by: when someone else's truth
Not only did the grownups get mean, the kids got mean, and even the animals got mean. It was like they took their cue from the people.

What did they see in him? The others follow his starving artist dog home from poker on some wall somewhere, hustling nothing. Keep finding him he brown bags his leave me alone lunchtime rituals. There isn't a dirty room to hide in his parent's home or out in the world. Under their roof rules. Henry Chinaski talks a lot about the long hair blowing in the wind in th
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*

So, here I sit asking myself what exactly I expected from Bukowski's Ham on Rye. The answer: I really don't know...

I didn't expect myself to fall a bit in love with a vulgar, obsessive, reclusive weirdo; I do know that!

However, I did fall a bit in love with this novel. With it's flow and ebb, it's vulgarity, it's I-don't-give-a-shit-what-you-think-about-me attitude. It's hard not to get caught up in the flow of Bukowski's story telling. To find yourself lost in the squalor of Henry's upbringing
This book has completely destroyed all the preconceptions I harboured about Bukowski. I always thought of him as a writer only loved by immature men, someone who only wrote about drinking and sex. To be honest, I kind of always looked down my nose at him. I'd never actually read any of his work though and since I really hate people who voice opinions about matters they know nothing about, I decided to pick up one of his novels to prove to myself that I'd been right all along and that I wasn't a ...more
Jul 13, 2007 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the morbidly curious, anyone who kind of likes Jack Kerouac
I read this book years ago, but most of it still sticks with me. I have a hard time giving it more than three stars because Charles Bukowski is such an asshole. It is also true though that he is an amazing writer. All of Bukowski's work is highly autobiographical (part of being a huge jerk is naricism) and this is his best. It deals with his horribly abusive childhood and adolescence is a way that is honest while pushing away all sympathy, a combination that creates a false intimacy. Reading Ham ...more
Bibbia – Ecclesiaste 3

1 Per ogni cosa c'è la sua stagione c'è un tempo per ogni situazione sotto il cielo:
2 un tempo per nascere e un tempo per morire, un tempo per piantare e un tempo per sradicare ciò che è
3 piantato,
4 un tempo per uccidere e un tempo per guarire, un tempo per demolire e un tempo per costruire,
5 un tempo per piangere e un tempo per ridere, un tempo per far cordoglio e un tempo per danzare,
6 un tempo per gettare via pietre e un tempo per raccogliere pietre, un tempo per abbrac
This is only the second novel I have read by Bukowski. I'm more a fan of his poetry. His poems are like his novels but condensed onto one page so they seem to carry more weight, more truth. His novels are like his poems but spread out over hundreds of pages so they seem a bit repetitive and watered down. The first half of the book was really good, recalling his childhood and abusive family life. The second half of the novel lost momentum as he describes his life after high school which foreshado ...more
Vit Babenco
There is this eminent poem by Philip Larkin: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn by fools in old-style hats and coats, who half the time were soppy-stern and half at one another's throats.”
And everything in Ham on Rye develops under this scenario…
“So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was goi
Parthiban Sekar

All a guy needed was a chance. Somebody was always controlling who got a chance and who didn't.

This is the story of a guy who tries to score girls....who is goal-oriented...who tries to lead a normal life...NO! who you can relate to Holden from The Catcher in the Rye but he is more raw, rude, and wanting to be a tough guy. They do have some similarities but the difference is that Henry's is of Charles Bukowski's type and wouldn't mind to break Holden's nose, given a chance of a fist-fight or d
This is a book that quite a few people will hate: the language is often crude, the few sex scenes in it are explict, and the main character is something of a jerk by the end of the book. However, I liked it a lot. Yes, there were a number of scenes that bordered on tastelessness and the main character became more and more misanthropic as the story progressed, but it was more often than not a poignant coming of age story. From what I've read, the book is a semi-autobiographical account of Bukowki ...more
Tom Meade
I know a girl who loves Bukowski because he can't write. He doesn't pretty it up. Well, it's because he writes so ugly that this book is so beautiful. It's a troubling look back at the youth of a man who knows exactly where he went wrong, but isn't afraid to leave it unjustified. Because after all, he's no better nor worse than anyone else in the world.

There's a disarming quality to the frankness of the prose which I read as somewhat disingenuous. Bukowski writes ugly, so you assume he's incapab
Ο Μπουκόφσκι είναι ένας από τους πιο αγαπημένους μου συγγραφείς. Οι λόγοι είναι πάρα πολλοί αλλά ο βασικότερος είναι πως σε κάθε βιβλίο του που έχω διαβάσει πραγματικά ξεγυμνώνει την ψυχή του και αυτοσαρκάζεται σε κάθε πρόταση που γράφει. Ειδικά αυτός ο αυτοσαρκασμός του με αγγίζει απίστευτα!
Το βιβλίο είναι κάτι σαν αυτοβιογραφία του ίδιου και προσωπικά το απόλαυσα στο μέγιστο βαθμό όπως και κάθε άλλο βιβλίο του Μπουκόφσκι :)

I encountered Bukowski’s work via his fiction rather than prose. Ham on Rye is a very accessible and engaging read and arguably the best place to begin reading Bukowski. I was quite surprised by how much I loved it. Well, who wouldn’t be intrigued by why Bukowski became known as such a grumpy dude.

Ham on Rye is a semi-autobiographical work that takes place in Los Angeles set during the great depression, marginally echoing the abysmal state of the economy and hopelessness of
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Ham on Rye 5 209 Nov 20, 2012 09:26AM  
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Henry Charles Bukowski (born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski) was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands ...more
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“What a weary time those years were -- to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.” 1031 likes
“I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.” 352 likes
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