Women
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Women

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  26,723 ratings  ·  1,260 reviews
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 maintai...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 14th 2002 by Ecco Press (first published 1978)
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Ryan McDonald
Misogyny, misogyny, misogyny....that's all everyone sees. Few see the true character of Hank, only the brutal sexual descriptions, the words beginning with "C" and his practice of "mounting" whatever drunken soul may have wandered into his piss-stained bed. This is one of the most American novels I have ever read. It tells the story of the common man, overburdened by the memories of his abusive youth, beleagured by his own unsightly appearance and wallowing in the depths of alcoholism. Few feel...more
Ratscats
Jul 18, 2008 Ratscats rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cher and Bette Midler
Recommended to Ratscats by: Sigfried and Roy
I discovered Charles Bukowski while in Las Vegas, in December 2000.
My dad thought it was a good idea to take his 19 year old daughter to Vegas. Because I LOVE watching everyone else gamble and drink while I can't participate!
To be fair, we saw some really good shows (Blue Man Group and Mystere). And the buffets were exciting (Paris was wonderful).
And ! I did get screamed at by a lady on the bus that goes up and down the strip. She looked like Mimi from the Drew Carey show. Well, she dropped her...more
Lydia Lee
The leading crazy lady's name is Lydia. I can relate. Charles Bukowski has a way of betraying you and making you laugh in spite of yourself; disgusting you and then melting your heart with one tender and insightful paragraph you do not expect, at a moment that doesn't seem appropriate in context to that which he is speaking. It is impossible to love Bukowski and impossible not to love him. This book is just a delight, if you can absorb it. He is mushy soft at his core.
Colelea
Jul 19, 2007 Colelea rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hipster dudes with creepy mustaches
boooooorrrrrr-iinnnnnnnnnnnnngggg

I loved Bukowski as a young teenager and now that I go back and re-read I can only imagine that I enjoyed the truth and rawness at that age when I was getting lied to everywhere abt. the relations between men and women.

NOW the misogyny is effing boring. Like the crap I see every effing day. I find it interesting that some people find it so shocking because I know at least 10 men that feel this way abt. women. OVER IT. Don't wanna read abt. it now.
Demetri Broxton-Santiago
Jul 15, 2012 Demetri Broxton-Santiago rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone looking for something wild and very different
This book is CRAZY!!! I cannot believe I read the entire thing in 3 days. You can't put it down. In fact, it made it's rounds through at least 8 people I know of, and it's probably still making the rounds. Everyone had the same experience. You start it and Bukowski goes into the most sexist, vulgar, repulsive descriptions of the main character's relationship to women, but something makes you keep reading. I stopped at several points wondering, "why the hell am I reading this?", yet I went on. Th...more
Jeremy
Bukowski is a five star poet writing a three star story, averaging out to four stars: but with a +1 star for pure, unmixed vodkaric fucking artistic courage … if you’ll pardon the bland but necessary tautology. Instead of a Nobel Prize, a Purple Heart and a Medal of Honor should have been meted out to him. When Chinaski—Bukowski’s fictionalized self—is asked about the kinds of writers he likes, the attribute he mentions about them is their bravery. He’s asked: why?

“Why? It makes me feel good. It
...more
Eileen
In the words of a reviewer on Amazon, "First off, this book will offend people. It will probably offend you." This book hit a little too close to home (you could say I've met and loved this man in real life). At first, reading it was easy; the language is not complex and the material is the definition of "page-turner" - sex, love, drugs, alcohol - in raw, unapologetic realism. And then around page 200 it all became too much. Chinaski does another poetry reading, beds (and then rapes, though stra...more
Baiocco
Feb 28, 2008 Baiocco rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers (in quotation marks)?
I read the first 9 pages of Bukowski's Women and realized I wasn't going to learn anything new about women from this alcoholic egotist. I read the next 300 pages because he's funny as shit!

I've never read anything by Bukowski, save for the poem about the Blue Bird which I really liked and transcribed on napkins for some reason, from my friend's book collection when I was drunk because I didn't want to buy the collection. Then I realized you can find these things on the Interweb, but that's kin...more
Arda Aghazarian
It was love at first letter with Bukowski. This was months ago. I read the letter he wrote in ’86, (posted at “Letters of Note” in 2012,) and I just knew. I had a thing for that letter, and wanted to devour the words of the man who wrote it.

I gulped down “Women” quickly because that was the type of book it was. Reading Bukowski requires the willingness to loosen up. It is not easy to read this stuff through an ideological, feminist, or moral lens. This man does not bother to brush up his charact...more
Katherine M
I once told a friend I went back to reading Bukowski like an abusive boyfriend. His raw snapshot of life reminds me more of the worn couch sitting decaying in my neighbors yard than the fresh writing style of Kerouac's that I love. His misogyny is infuriating, to say the least. Yet, no one is perfect. Bukowski is vulgar but intelligent. His women are disposable but his portraits of life still retain such clarity I know he must care about these women a little bit. In some way. Right?
RandomAnthony
I feel stupid getting into Charles Bukowski so much as a 43 year old guy with kids, a house, and a job. I mean, I read him in my late teens with all my friends and we romanticized his shitty SRO hotel existence. But over the last year I've either read or re-read all of his (non-poetry) books except Pulp, and I can see a depth and craft of which I wasn't aware as a kid. Women, turns out, is my favorite of the catalog.

I don't get much voyeuristic pleasure from Women. You know how recently-divorced...more
Anna
I enjoyed this novel. Though it's thick, I found it an easy read, the type of book that I could dip into at any time. The structure of this novel is odd or unconventional in that at first it seems repetitive, this happens then that, with women entering and leaving his life. But somehow you grow used to it. It's almost like a compilation of episodes that often don't lead anywhere but allow you to understand the protagonist who's obviously Bukowski. I'll say it's pretty funny too. Bukowski's sense...more
Isak
Bukowski at his best. The writing is raw and unpolished, but full of clarity. Every single word is written with heart and there is no lying in this fire. If you just manage to see through all the obvious sexism and chauvinism, you will find a lot of truth in this book. A few fine quotes:

"'Potential,' I said, 'doesn't mean a thing. You've got to do it. Almost every baby in a crib has more potential than I have.'" (p. 38)

"Goodness could be found sometimes in the middle of hell." (p. 69)

"I never fe...more
Adam Floridia
I'd have to say that this is the closest thing I've read to erotica. I mean, while I love Karen's reviews, I don't go in for stuff like this or this. (Not that there's anything wrong with it.) I feel like Women could never actually be called "erotica" anyway; there's nothing erotic in it. Pornographic, sure, but it's that hard, dirty kind devoid of all passion. Now familiar with Bukowski's work, this didn't surprise me at all: I knew what a misanthropic, lonely degenerate the protagonist is. Tha...more
V.
The style is pretty much the usual: simple, plain, occasionally vulgar. If you like his prose (which I do) it's an enjoyable read, often funny, always honest (if a little one-sided) and as scathing about himself as he is about everyone else.

What made this book a little less interesting than the others of hid I've read is that he's become something of a minor celebrity at this point in his life (the fictional Chinaski pretty much mirrors Bukowowski's real life) so the stream of women that pass th...more
Natalie
The best thing about this book is that it is nothing it is not supposed to be. It is a telling of a sad lonely old man who knows he is not what he is supposed to be. It captures the self pity and destruction of a fictional writer who is very obviously a reincarnate of Bukowski. The story is forced forward only by the coming and goings of the women he meets, as I imagine Bukowski's own life was propelled. He doesn't sugar-coat these meetings. The sex is raw and disgusting and there is no love, on...more
Shauna
Okay, Wikipedia really mislead me on this one and it should be ashamed of itself.

"Women is centered around Chinaski's later life, as a celebrated poet and writer, not as a dead-end lowlife."

I say bullshit to you, Wikipedia. The 10% I managed before throwing the book down in disgust would beg to differ.

"At times, Women has the tendency to become chauvinistic."

Understatement.

"Aside from Chinaski's discontent, Bukowski added a certain comedic flair to his novel that may expose some women to the wa...more
Steven Eggleton
You hear about people stumbling across Bukowski’s work somewhere and having this epiphany. They get this idea in their head that to write authentically one has to live this way. They want to lay in bed all day and drink beer while floating from woman to woman –dead end job to dead end job.
The only difference between those writers and myself I suppose, is by the time I discovered Bukowski, I was already living that way. Never knowing one could parlay that lifestyle into some kind of literary care...more
Michael
Repulsive.

There it is, my one word review of Women.

As I'm reading the book, hating it more and more, I'm wondering how I can ever review it. I'm not too fond of reviewing books anyway, but I didn't know how I could even share my thoughts on it. I decided I'd just do an alphabetical 26-word review, starting with "atrocious" and ending with "zany" with each word a representation of what I hated about the book.

Way too much work.

So why didn't I like Women? I was turned off by what I perceived as Buk...more
Linda
This book was about 85% done and then... I just put it down. It was beginning to seem like a waste of time and energy. So many women, so much booze, and one stinking degenerate to tell me about it all.

But then I came across an LA Times Book Review of "Pleasure of the Damn: Poems, 1951-1993" (which was going to released the following week). The reviewer said some really harsh things about Bukowski and his place in the literary pantheon in LA. After that, I was inspired to finish reading this boo...more
Colleen
Jul 24, 2008 Colleen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers.


If Pulp is Bukowski's intellectual candy, then Women is a main course. His prose is still wonderfully simple and quirky as seen in the last few lines of the novel:
"... I opened the door and walked out on the porch. There was a strange cat out there. He was a huge creature, a tom, with a shining black coat and luminous yellow eyes...
I opened him up a can of Star-Kist solid white tuna. Packed in spring water. Net wt. 7 oz."

As with Pulp, I relished that his prose relished and even mocked the mund...more
Po Po
I'll sum it up for you.

Drink, fuck, drink, horse race, drink, driiiiiiiink, write, drink, drink, watch a boxing match, give a reading, drink, fuck, drink, fuck, fuck, sleep, drink, write, drink, drink, fuck, drink, fuck, give a reading, drink, fuck, drink, fuuuuuuuck, drink, drink, fuck, fuck, drink, fuck.

These are the names of the ladies in his life: Lydia, Katherine, Joanna, Nicole, Debra, Tanya, Gertrude, Hilda, Iris, Mercedes, Liza,and Tammie. (There are others; I missed a few.)

There is some...more
Ben Loory
i'm always pleasantly surprised whenever i read bukowski; i always think of him as an idiot, but then he's not an idiot! he's actually pretty smart and has impeccable comic timing. on the other hand, he's so completely attached to himself and his wonderful/worst-ever personality that he can never get outside of himself long enough to conceive of an actual story where anything happens or changes. so it's all fun and games (and horror and misery) until it's just boring as hell. and then it keeps g...more
Juli
my very first Bukowski :)
everyone should give ol Hank Chinaski a try - I find that the world can pretty easily be divided into two kinds of women - those who find Buke misogynistic and those who want to go drinking with him. Obviously, I am of the latter. This is the book that got me into Black Sparrow Press, and made City Lights Bookstore a MUST SEE for me the first time i hit San Francisco.
oh and p.s. - Bukowski loved women, with all their many flaws. He failed to worship them, and that is jus...more
Dorota Skrzypek
A few chapters in and I thought: Wow, someone read this book and created the show Californication. Brooding, alcoholic, sex-aholic writer, always trying to write, but mostly managing to get laid. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That's what they say anyway. And it is a great premise even though it isn't really about anything. Just a snapshot into this guy's life, which I can really appreciate since as a writer of a book series I often get asked: What is Sex, Life, & Hannah about?...more
Marek
I walked to my car, got in and started it. I put it in first. It didn't move. I tried second. Nothing. Then I went back to first. I checked to be sure the brake was off. it wouldn't move. I tried reverse. The car moved backwards. I braked and tried first again. The car wouldn't move. I was still very angry with Lydia. I thought, well, I'll drive the fucking thing home backwards.
---
Human relationships were strange. I mean, you were with one person a while, eating and sleeping and living with them...more
Karen Sutton
This seems like the ultimate fantasy tale for an old man that would earn a guy a high five from his buddies (minus the alcoholism). It didn't seem much more than a pile of misogynous sexual encounters. I read this really wanting to enjoy it, thinking it was going to be a classic but I think it might be just one of those books that you don't easily forget.

This may have been revolutionary at the time when this book was first published, before the highly sexualised media we have today. It does hav...more
Nate Haskell
Bukowski's words are as easily read as room temperature butter is spread. There's a little poem to have him rolling over in his grave.

Good book; it goes through all the emotions one hardened, unapologetic old bastard can go through while meeting, greeting and in-the-sheeting dozens of writer-groupies and other misfit characters (read: normal people). Interestingly enough, it manages to hit home on a few cases of inner-turmoil.

Lydia was my favorite of the women. The joint-insanity between her a...more
Elliott
Reading "Women" is like watching a porno. At first, all that wanton sex is exciting and seductive and yeah, kind of funny too; then it starts to get repetitive and a little disturbing; pretty soon you're disgusted with all of it: sex and women and men and most of all, yourself. You promise that you'll never watch again but, deep down, you know you will. You dirty bastard.
Henry Martin
Women is definitely not Bukowski at his finest, nevertheless, the book has its merits. In this book, we get a slightly different glimpse at Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's alter ego, and once we get past the same scenery in which the only thing that changes are the sets of legs spread before him, we are offered a look into a life of a man who is nearing his top game (in term of recognition) while being torn inside. Torn by the insatiable appetite to taste all the fruit forbidden to him for the first...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What influence did Charles Bukowski Have on Your Writing? 3 40 Apr 19, 2014 01:33PM  
Women 35 245 Mar 18, 2014 12:29PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Errors and extra info to be added 3 155 Dec 03, 2013 01:52PM  
Human relationships were strange.... 2 41 Nov 19, 2012 05:37AM  
Looking for a book.... 2 22 Nov 18, 2012 02:33PM  
i must admit that from time to time i feel the same. they are a ghost in my life that will always be there 1 20 Sep 22, 2012 09:57AM  
hahahaha 1 19 Aug 05, 2012 04:08PM  
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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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“That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” 3522 likes
“being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” 1884 likes
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