Kirstine's Reviews > Post Office

Post Office by Charles Bukowski
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Nov 14, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: own, reviewed, fiction, 1-men
Read in July, 2012

Bukowski puzzles me.

This could be a true story, he could honest to god have sat down one day, with a hangover from hell, and decided to write this book, for no other reason than to tell the world "I exist. Lives like this are lived every day".

Something struck me, not in the book (well, to be honest, the entire book struck me), but there was something on the back of it. One of the reviews read: "Cunning, relentlessly jokey and sad". That broke me. It isn't relentlessly funny, no, it's relentlessly jokey. What's the difference? Funny is clean, it makes you feel good, like it'll all work out in the end. Jokey is when you're standing in the gutter knee deep in shit and you make a joke about not lighting a cigarette because it would set the world on fire.
Or something like that.

So I agree this book isn't funny, there are no thought through jokes, they were never meant to be written down on paper and told in a microphone for a well-dressed crowd, the world simply shoved situations in his face and he decided to laugh. Jokey indeed, and well done, Bukowski has you laughing with him.

Then there's the other part "and sad". And sad. At the end of the sentence, like it's an afterthought, the feeling you're left with when all the others have come and gone. It's so simple, no fancy word, no 'sorrowful', no 'endlessly depressing'. It's sad. Like that. There's not a damn thing you can do about it, it's the way it is. It won't make you cry, but it will make you feel like drinking.

I wasn't sure how much I liked it when I finished it last night. But then I woke up this morning and I felt a strange desire to read it again. It just hit me out of nowhere, it was like realising you're hungry, instead I just wanted more of this, this book, of Henry Chinaski. Perhaps it was simply the pull of a life I'll never know, of struggles I'll never endure.

In any case, it made an impression. I recommend you try it out for yourself.
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Quotes Kirstine Liked

Charles Bukowski
“In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.
Maybe I'll write a novel, I thought.
And then I did.”
Charles Bukowski, Post Office


Reading Progress

01/30 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by René (new)

René " Jokey is when you're standing in the gutter knee deep in shit and you make a joke about not lighting a cigarette because it would set the world on fire.

I'd say you nailed it there. Bukowski's humour invites you not to laugh with him, but to laugh at him. You discover within yourself the voyeurs' titillation at poking a stick at a drunk passed out in an alleyway, and cringe at yourself, and cringe even more when the drunk rips your stick away and pokes himself with it.


Kirstine Yes, I believe you are right. Perhaps that's why I was unsure whether I liked it at all to begin with, since I'm very uncomfortable laughing at people. I felt much better laughing with him, something you rarely could, but it did happen once in a while.

It is true about the voyeurism. There's something unbelievably intriguing about the misery of others - especially if it turns self-deprecating. It may not be laughing stock - not for me anyway - but it does make you stop and stare.


message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben One of the best reviews on this book I've ever read. Captures the tone of the book (at least the tone that I perceived)


Nove You totally nailed how I feel about this book. Though I'm still not sure if I like it..


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