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Women

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Aron Grimsson I know what you mean.. A few friends of mine had been going on about Charles Bukowski for ages so I decided to give him a try. I managed to get though the book but I wasn't that impressed. It was just so repetitive and had such a faint storyline that I didn't get too into it. What I liked the most was that occasionally he'd string words together into these really great sentences which were so good you almost wanted to write them down. So I think if I ever decide to have a better look into his work it'll be his poetry and not another story.


Kaylee I have the same affliction -- I absolutely cannot stop reading a book (especially if I own it). I think it helped that I started this one after reading a book I thought was even worse. At least this one was a bit mindless, with some scattered moments of, "Yeah, you really got that right". I only thought about it while reading it, and even then, I was able to think about other things. It definitely wasn't a page-turner in the least.

It helps that I'm pretty sure I know guys who have the same perspective on sex as the main character. I will say, though, that I don't feel like I need to read anything else by Bukowski. Perhaps that's unfair of me.


Martin I really can't understand the comments you have posted on this book, but then again the fact that I can't might be good. The lines rolled easily across the page, there was a flow, each line had its own energy and was followed by another one like it.

The very substance of each line gave the page a form, a feeling of something carved into it. There, at last, was a man who was not afraid of emotion. The humor and pain intermixed with a superb simplicity.


José Antonio Hidalgo Galván Pues a mí me parece uno de los mejores. Junto con Cartero. Como dice Martin, yo tampoco entiendo este comentario. Bien es verdad que nadie, ningún autor, puede gustar a todo el mundo y Bukowksi no va a ser la excepción.
Un saludo, disculpad que no escriba en inglés, pero es que yo leyendo lo entiendo pero escribiendo no soy capaz de expresar correctamente la idea que quiero transmitir.


Horrorshow Lillis wrote: "This book was awful"

Please could you elaborate.


Cameron Yeah...women generally don't like Bukowski. He was a misogynist and an animal. Maybe that's why I like him so much.


Paul Allih Excellent book. One of my favorites from Bukowski. Much like most of the stuff I like to read, it's not for everyone.


Will IV Bukowski uses such honest language. I find his prose to be moving at times, hysterical at others, and disturbing in between.


message 9: by Bob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bob Hartley I disagree that the plot doesn't go anywhere. He gets married at one point for Christ's sake. His attitude to women throughout the book is what makes the ending so powerful.


message 10: by Cheryl (last edited Jul 29, 2012 05:23PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cheryl Cameron wrote: "Yeah...women generally don't like Bukowski. He was a misogynist and an animal. Maybe that's why I like him so much."

Really? These aren't even qualities Bukowski likes about himself. Hank is pretty miserable with his life, misogynistic as it may be. I don't think Bukowski writes it as a quality you're supposed to "like," but more as a quality that you pity because it aides in ultimately keeping him from ever finding happiness or fulfillment.


Steven Eggleton Cheryl wrote: "Cameron wrote: "Yeah...women generally don't like Bukowski. He was a misogynist and an animal. Maybe that's why I like him so much."

Really? These aren't even qualities Bukowski likes about himse..."


I never understand why people label Bukowski a misogynist. Do people really believe he hates women? I think he is more of a hedonist who makes poor decisions.


Cheryl Steven wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "Cameron wrote: "Yeah...women generally don't like Bukowski. He was a misogynist and an animal. Maybe that's why I like him so much."

Really? These aren't even qualities Bukowski li..."


I definitely think that Bukowski dislikes ACTUAL women or at least finds them difficult, which is why the women in his stories are so unrealistic. I think that all of his protagonists objectify women, which is a form of misogyny- and I don't see how anyone can disagree with that. Maybe he has mommy issues, who knows? I'm not trying to say that this makes him a bad author. I just think, as a woman, that his portrayal of women is disrespectful and embarrassing to the rest of us.


message 13: by Will (last edited Aug 03, 2012 04:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV Really? Are we reading the same books? He is equally, if not more harsh on his male characters as he is on his female characters. The women weren't portrayed in any more of a bad light than the men, it's just the main character Henry Chinaski was notoriously apathetic to other people's emotions and his interactions happened to mainly center around women. Henry Chinaski, in earlier books, was just as cruel and apathetic to the men he was around. If anything, the guy was a misanthrope, as his inspection of the humans his character Henry Chinaski interacted with was bleak at best.

The more "floozie" women in this book are more of a critique on the women Henry chose to be around than an accurate representative of how he views ALL women.

I find it hard to believe you read actually this book reading your comments.

Bukowski himself met his wife in 1976, married her in 1985, and stayed married and faithful to her for the rest of his life.


Steven Eggleton Cheryl wrote: "Steven wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "Cameron wrote: "Yeah...women generally don't like Bukowski. He was a misogynist and an animal. Maybe that's why I like him so much."

Really? These aren't even qualit..."


I don’t think the women in his books are unrealistic at all. As a matter of fact they are based on real people. Bukowski’s life was the major focus in his writing. I also have to agree with Will, Bukowski wasn’t writing about all women, but the one’s he happen to associate with.
And furthermore, misogyny is the hatred of women. Just because a man objectifies women, doesn’t make him a misogynist. A pig perhaps, but not a misogynist.
And how can his portrayal of women be disrespectful? A writers responsibility is to his characters. To be honest with them. Not to make them look like saints. Not all women are perfect, as a matter of fact some are nothing more than low-down skanks, and that’s the truth.
I think the problem people have with writers like Bukowski is, that he writes about a portion of society people would like to forget. Not everything is Sense and Sensibility. Sometimes the world is inhabited by drunkards and whores.


Cheryl Objectification of women is recognized as misogyny in critical theory. Also, portraying men in a bad light as well doesn't negate his portraying women poorly. It just makes him consistent.

I do understand that these women are based on real women from his life, BUT they are written as Bukowski's interpretation of these women- which is what makes me find them unrealistic. If you find them realistic, cool, I guess. We just disagree.

I'm really not trying to knock Bukowski! I promise! I'm simply trying to point out that liking Bukowski because he's misogynistic IS NOT the intent he has in mind with his writing. I think things got a little skewed.


Cheryl Furthermore, why is it that when the man I quoted labels Bukowski as a misogynist everyone is fine with it? I wasn't saying it made him a bad writer. I simply said that his elements of sexism aren't supposed to be viewed as "likeable." The term misogyny was chosen by him and not me. I was simply pointing out that Bukowski uses sexism to prove a point about his protagonist, Henry- just as he uses alcoholism.

I'll take back the "disrespectful" bit. That was a little defensive on my part, but the book is titled "Women," and not "Only Crazy Whores."


Steven Eggleton Cheryl wrote: "Objectification of women is recognized as misogyny in critical theory. Also, portraying men in a bad light as well doesn't negate his portraying women poorly. It just makes him consistent.

I do ..."


Critical theory! Oh, shit! Hahaha
Please, feel free to knock Bukowski all you like, he seems like he was pretty scummy at times (I don’t think me and him would’ve gotten along in real life), but his writing was brilliant. Mysoginist or not. And that is why I like him.
Yes, things have gotten way skewed. But you brought up an interesting point. So, what do you think Bukowski’s intent was? What was he trying to say? That is what’s really important.
But getting back to what you said earlier, of course these women are Bukowski’s interpretations. Just like I’m sure you’ve made inferences about me (whether they are true or not), based on the short discourse we’ve had. I’ve certainly made some about you. ;)


Steven Eggleton Oh, and Cheryl I think you misinterpreted the ending of the book. You said, “ultimately keeping him from ever finding happiness or fulfillment”. That’s not true. At the end of the book when he hangs-up on the girl, and ends up hanging out with the cat (just not any cat, but a tom cat), it represents Chinaski coming to terms with who he is and finding fulfillment in being alone, instead of trying to fill the hole in his heart with sex –or whores as the case may be.


Cheryl I think he uses sexism and alcoholism to show Henry's disgust for decency, boredom with normalcy, and inability to live in reality. These actually ARE things that I relate to, though I would never say I think like/live like Chinaski. In the end, these problems still exist, though I do agree that there is resolution and he does find contentment.


message 20: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV Yeah, alcoholism really drives the intent of his characters. Classic alcoholic.

I think it's important to keep in mind that these women were just the women that the main character associated himself with. I don't see how you can call them unrealistic. Unrealistic compared to whom, you?

Furthermore, titling the book Women in no way implies "This is a view of all women" any more than his first novel "Post Office" is a portrayal of all post offices. Surely you see that the title is about the women in the character's life, right?


Cheryl Actually, he states several times that he's taking about all women. So, I guess I disagree. "And yet women- good women- frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul...I craved prostitutes, base women..." So, right there, it's not just the women he associates with. Henry makes generalizations of all women, and they aren't exactly flattering. He sleeps with women that he considers "good women" including that one girl that said he was only her third lay. He sleeps with whores, also. It's not like he picks one type of woman and only sleeps with her. I mean, he pretty much sleeps with anyone he has the opportunity to.

I do find his female characters unrealistic compared to women. I don't think it's that unbelievable to find characters unrealistic. I didn't mean compared to me, I mean compared to anyone. I'm sure you've read a book and found characters unrealistic before. It's not really an insult. I guess you could say it makes the women in his book pretty unique. I find it hard that the near virginal, young girl just up and writes him letters, visits him out of nowhere, and can't wait to fuck him. With only two other dudes under her belt, I don't think she'd be that adventurous. I also don't think that any women he finds attractive would just be into kissing him. He's always just leaning in and kissing chicks mid conversation, it just seems awkward (which is fine, Henry is pretty awkward and I see why HE would do it. I just don't get why he always gets a kiss back).

Is that enough examples for everyone? Surely you see that I'm not just pulling this shit out of my ass, right? It's in the text.

I will amend my statement from before. I do see your and Steven's point about Bukowski not necessarily being a misogynist, though the majority of his male characters are. He does use sexist writing to show that sexism is shitty- just like alcoholism. I'm not exactly calling him a feminist, but it's not like he shows sexism in a good light- despite the large amounts of sexism that he's ALWAYS showing. This is kind of what my original point was supposed to be. I think all this heated debate got me turned around a little.
Admittedly, the sexism probably struck me a little harder because I'm a woman; but that doesn't make me some Jane Austin reading, uptight, virginal baby. Give me a break.


message 22: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV The only examples you have of him talking about "other women" is a line where he talks about the women he avoids? And he calls those women "good women!" The quote you chose exemplifies exactly what I am talking about. The women Henry wants and surrounds himself with aren't typical of most women. It says so right in your quote! So, the character obviously knows that there are good women out there, and what he means by them wanting his soul, as that the good women want commitment, and Henry is obviously only willing to commit as far as is convenient for him.

"I do find his female characters unrealistic compared to women."

You just compared a handful of women to all women. That is incredibly sexist. To assume there is one "type" of women and then say anyone that isn't like a typical woman is unrealistic? I'm sorry, but this is such a weak argument you are presenting. These women he modeled after his real life experiences with women, and while I myself have been lucky to know many outstanding women who are nothing like the women in this novel, I have also been unfortunate to have known many very similar to the ones described in this book. One I found to be almost exactly like someone I had a relationship with once, almost eerily similar.

Your last paragraph is right on the mark except for this being a heated debate. I see it more as a disagreement followed by a discussion of our views on the writing/character. Personally, I have no problem if you think the women are unrealistic and that the novel is meant to portray women in general, but I think you will find that most people will tend to take issue with this, including most critics (although, admittedly, there are many critics who only see misogyny).


Steven Eggleton I will agree with Cheryl that Bukowski is sexist, most definitely. But is that such a bad thing? Everything is so PC these days. They gotta find a way to splice Hemingway DNA with Buk's so we can get an uber macho, beer swilling, man-pig.But I digress.
Cheryl, would you say writing like Bukowski's keeps women down?


Cheryl Will wrote: "The only examples you have of him talking about "other women" is a line where he talks about the women he avoids? And he calls those women "good women!" The quote you chose exemplifies exactly what..."

Actually, the quote I chose was him talking about that Texan chick that he was fucking and briefly thought he was fslling in love with. He was saying that he was frightened by actual emotion and dealing with someone that he could have respect for. So, I think you're totally wrong and kind of being really defensive- which is causing you to react really close-mindedly. My quote illustrates my point fairly well, I believe. Nice try, though.

I'm not describing a handful of women, and neither is Bukowski. He's fairly nondiscriminatory toward the women he sleeps with, he sleeps with all kinds of different women so I don't buy that all their sexual activity and mannerisms during his advances would be the same. It's kind of a good point, calm down and digest it.

I see this as a heated debate because instead of saying that you disagree with me and think something else, you call me a sexist and tell me that I'm dead wrong. It's kind of a drag.

Steven, no. I don't think writing like this keeps women down. As a woman reading this, I was always thinking, "What a moron/whore/immature girl," or, "no, girl, he's clearly lying." HOWEVER, I do think that it holds men back. It sucks reading about dudes thinking that the misogyny in his books is totally awesome. I don't think his protagonists are meant to be idolized. I think those people are missing the point, and that's sad for them.


message 25: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV Actually, never called you a sexist, I said that comparing the women in his book and holding them against a broad "type" of woman is sexist. And it is. There's a big difference between calling out something you said as sexist and calling you sexist. And I'm not being defensive at all. Sorry you are reading into it that way. I'm merely presenting my argument. I am completely calm and the fact that you are reading my words otherwise is bizarre to say the least.

I don't understand any of the rest of your points anymore, honestly. It seems like you aren't disagreeing or addressing much of what I said. Commitment requires respect and feeling with emotions, so your first paragraph doesn't disagree with me. I don't understand what you are saying with the second paragraph. The character only interacts with a certain amount of female characters, a "handful" if you will. Sometimes, the character makes blanket statements based on his experience of these select few women, but when he describes other "good" women being out there, he is obviously pointing out that the women he is attracted to is a certain type. Vice versa, certain women are going to naturally be attracted to such a personality as Henry. He does get rejected occasionally, so we see right away that not all of the women act to his advances similarly. He also only tends to make sexual advancements on women who are obviously attracted to him, so obviously these women are going to reciprocate. I really don't see your point at all.


message 26: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV Cheryl wrote: "I see this as a heated debate because instead of saying that you disagree with me and think something else, you call me a sexist and tell me that I'm dead wrong."

This is such a confusing statement. First, I didn't call you sexist (as I address in previous post), second, what's the point in saying explicitly "I disagree?" Isn't it obvious I disagree? It's like people who are always announcing, "In my opinion..." Well, of course it's your opinion, we are all talking about our opinions. Third, you've just told me I'm dead wrong yourself, so... what gives?

Look, try not to read too much into this. It's a spirited conversation, but accusing me of being defensive and close-minded is not constructive, nor is it the truth. If I was close-minded, I wouldn't be having this conversation at all, I would merely stick with my opinion and not bother at all to read what your perspective is. Just because I disagree, and just because I might disagree very passionately, does not equate to me being close-minded, defensive, etc. I am merely very opinionated, and I state my opinions with confidence.


Cheryl Will wrote: "Actually, never called you a sexist, I said that comparing the women in his book and holding them against a broad "type" of woman is sexist."

OK, let me be more clear. I'm not saying that I think these women could never exist because women just aren't like that. I'm saying that Henry sleeps with a lot of different people who seem to act exactly the same. I feel like Vonnegut would have said "So it goes" after each woman kisses Hank back and sleeps with him. It's predictable. It's formulaic. I just think it's unrealistic- their actions while with him. I'm not saying I can't fathom these women's personalities or looks. So, I don't see how it's sexist. Maybe I just wasn't explaining myself well enough, or maybe I'm not understanding your point.

Sorry if saying, "I disagree," is bothersome to you. I'm just trying to make it clear that what I'm saying is not fact, it IS my opinion. I felt that presenting my argument in that fashion would keep it from sounding condescending. More like, "this is my opinion, that is your's." I don't think either of us are exactly wrong. I also don't see how attacking my diction could be constructive, either. It doesn't negate the points that I'm trying to make.

I'm not saying you're dead wrong. Maybe my quote wasn't the best to illustrate my point because it's not as powerful out of context. That's my bad, but I still stand that IN CONTEXT I see it as valid. That's what I was trying to explain. I didn't mean to offend you.


message 28: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV Trust me, you have not offended me in the slightest. My strong opinions and tone always seem to put others off, but I assure you, I completely respect your views and take them into full consideration. I think there was a misunderstanding in your views which was confusing me and now I think you've made it clear that what you are essentially saying is that all of these women act similarly. Before I comment on that, would you mind expanding on what you mean? I mean, in the broadest sense, they act similarly in that they reciprocate sexual attraction and eventually find incompatibility with each other. This seems to me a common struggle between sexes and sometimes it happens again and again. Haven't you known women who seem to only pick abusive men (verbally or otherwise) over and over again? Wouldn't this seem similar, in that these men all act similarly to this same women, but isn't that explained by her personality being attracted to this type of person despite its unhealthy results? Basically, I'm confused about what actions are unrealistic by these women.


message 29: by Luis (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luis Azevedo Kaylee wrote: "I have the same affliction -- I absolutely cannot stop reading a book (especially if I own it). I think it helped that I started this one after reading a book I thought was even worse. At least t..."

It is unfair. And that analysis you've made didn't scratch the surface of the book. Bukowski loved Women more than anything and there are many layers to his work. He comes across as a chauvinist pig who treats women like garbage, but how can that be true when he says something like this:
http://azevedosreviews.wordpress.com/...


message 30: by Luis (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luis Azevedo Cheryl wrote: "Will wrote: "The only examples you have of him talking about "other women" is a line where he talks about the women he avoids? And he calls those women "good women!" The quote you chose exemplifies..."

Well, guys who think misogyny is portrayed as a good thing in Bukowski books are just morons. You can't help to attract those readers when you write in an uncomplicated style.


Corina A great insight into Hank's mind/ soul/ lifestyle. Trippy yet real. Brutally honest and not wasted into unnecessary depiction.

Loved every inch of the book:)


message 32: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Lyerla I liked this book, but could not take it seriously. It seemed a parody of Kerouac and others who wrote in the 50s. If you take the lives depicted in On the Road or The Dharma Bums, for example, and exaggerate them to absurdity, you wind up with something very like WOMEN.


Andrew Frischerz Aron wrote: "I know what you mean.. A few friends of mine had been going on about Charles Bukowski for ages so I decided to give him a try. I managed to get though the book but I wasn't that impressed. It was j..."

I get where you're coming from. I loved this novel though. It's the brutal honesty and the harsh simplicity of his prose that kept me reading. All his books are very similar. I can't get enough of this dirty old man.


Andrew Frischerz Luis wrote: "Kaylee wrote: "I have the same affliction -- I absolutely cannot stop reading a book (especially if I own it). I think it helped that I started this one after reading a book I thought was even wor..."

Very well put. Couldn't agree more. Thank you.


Andrew Frischerz Corina wrote: "A great insight into Hank's mind/ soul/ lifestyle. Trippy yet real. Brutally honest and not wasted into unnecessary depiction.

Loved every inch of the book:)"


Yes; I am with you. Some just don't get it.


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