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Factotum

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  41,187 Ratings  ·  1,269 Reviews
One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 15th 2006 by Ecco (first published 1975)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I have a sort of pre-emptive dislike-verging-on-loathing of Bukowski, which I think is rooted in my post-adolescent rejection of and disillusionment with the Beat writers (whom I absolutely adored in high school). I’ve never read Bukowski before, but I’ve seen Barfly and Factotum on the screen. I’ve seen two documentaries about him which likewise left me more disgusted and depressed than anything. This is where I’m coming from. There’s also this song that aided in informing me about the man.

One
...more
Madeleine
There were times while reading this short novel that I had to stop and wonder if my aspiration to one day be the female Bukowski is either setting my sights too high or placing the bar too low.

And then I up and went to a bar, since I was reading this on the anniversary of the Dirtiest Old Man in Literature's passing and all, so I stopped worrying about pretty much everything. YOU'RE STILL MY BOY, BUK.
P.F. Chang
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
people like talking shit about charles bukowski on goodreads, it seems funny.

i liked this book a lot. henry chinaski is an asshole but he knows he's an asshole and simply accepts being an asshole. everything seems detached and transient, nothing really matters to him, life is just this "thing that is happening" which he feels powerless to, so he doesn't invest much emotion in the things he feels like he needs to do to stay alive, and drinks to avoid feelings of alienation. i laughed out loud sev
...more
Printable Tire
Having read two of Bukowski's books now, I've decided he's for two types of people: psuedo-intelectual masochists that want to slum a little and more genuine people that live very histrionic if arrogant and introverted lives. I can’t get over how conceited Bukowski is, how conceited his books and intentions are, or the way he treats his audience. I guess he’s sort of a modern day Oscar Wilde or Elephant Man, but reading his books gives me the impression that most people that read him think the j ...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
When the undercurrent of life starts to pull you away even struggling against it can take you further away...this book is the perfect example of this.
David Schaafsma
I love this poem about the drunken Charles Bukowski, from Raymond Carver, speaking to a bunch of creative writing students, in “You Don’t Know What Love Is”:

https://bukowskiforum.com/threads/you...

A “factotum” is an employee who does all kinds of work. This short novel I listened to, which makes it a bit like a guy telling you his life story while drinking you under the table. I was driving while listening to it, and not drinking as I was driving, for your information. The story is a follow-up t
...more
KamRun
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
امید تنها چیزی است که آدمیزاد لازم دارد. امید که نباشد، آدم دلسرد میشود. یاد دورهای افتادم که نیوارلئان بودم و چند هفتهی مدام، با روزی دو تا شکلات پنج سنتی سرمیکردم تا بتوانم با خیال راحت بنشینم به نوشتن. اما متاسفانه، گرسنگی کشیدن باعث اعتلای هنر نمیشود؛ سر راهش میشود. روح انسان تو شکمش ریشه دارد. آدم بعد از خوردن یک استیک شاهانه و نیم بطر ویسکی خیلی بهتر میتواند بنویسد تا بعد از خوردن یک شکلات پنج سنتی. این افسانههایی که راجع به هنرمند آس و پاس بههم بافتهاند کسشعر است. چندان طولی نمیکشد که هرک
...more
Vit Babenco
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Factotum – an employee who does all kinds of work.
Henry Chinaski – an alter ego of Charles Bukowski – was a special kind of factotum – he was an employee who didn’t want to do any kind of work.
“I’m a writer temporarily down on my inspirations.”
“Oh, a writer, eh?”
“Yes.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m not.”
“What do you write?”
“Short stories mostly. And I’m halfway through a novel.”
“A novel, eh?”
“Yes.”
“What’s the name of it?”
“‘The Leaky Faucet of My Doom.’”
“Oh, I like that. What’s it about?”
“Everything.”
“E
...more
Brian
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Ned Mozier

"What kind of job you looking for?"
"Stockboy, shipping clerk, janitor."


The denizens of Bukowski's fictional world encompass the marginalized chaff of mid-20thcentury America. Barely a step ahead of abject vagrancy, Bukowski's protagonist and alter-ego Henry Chinaski is the everyman of the most base of our species comfortable asking the bare minimum of this world.

When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn't have you by the throat.

Chinaski's story isn't pretty, bu
...more
Cody
Jun 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bukowski holds a strange attraction for me. I suppose reading his novels and short stories is something like staring at a car crash or returning to the scene of the crime: I just can't help it. There is a primitive, visceral draw. I have yet to read a Bukowski novel that I consider great. Factotum does come close, but its moments of brilliance are weighed down by excessive machismo and male posturing. Still, I can't say I regret reading it, and I know I will read Bukowski again.
Magdalen
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"These people are assholes, assholes! They have no intelligence! They don't know how to think! They're afraid of the mind! They're sick! They're cowards! They aren't thinking men like you and me"

A writer who struggles to make ends meet so he takes every job he can possibly find. Bukowski's writing is sharp, brutal, raw. The story at some parts I could even describe it as depressing.. (lost count of how many jobs he changed or how many females he slept with) For me Factotum is brilliant.
Ha
...more
ميقات الراجحي
في إستكمال مشروع قراءة سيرة تشارلز بوكوفسكي الروائية، وحديث متشعب وقاسي عن فترة الحرب العالمية الثانية وتنقله من مكانٍ لآخر. صراحته موجعة وشديد القسوة في إطلاق الأحـكام ، ورغم مواصلته لتسجيل حياته كجزء من النص إلا زمن الرواية وحالة الحرب لم تجعل النص يـتسيد إلا بحديثه عن الجـنس والمرأة. وجـدته مضحكًا في هذا الجزء.



كتابة الرواية وفق طريقة مقاطع قصصية رغم وحدة النص أستهوتني جدًا. وهي متماسكة في قالب واحد وتشدك لإكمالها. كذلك سرده وفق الجمل القصيرة في كتابات بوكوفسكي تذكرني بروعة جمل أوسكار وايلد خص
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Roula
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ΓΙΑ ΜΕΝΑ, οχι τοσο καλο οσο το ταχυδρομειο, but still..4 αστερακια!!
Taylor
This is the first Bukowski novel I read - I chose it because the movie version was coming out, and I wanted to read the book first.

As a first Bukowski novel, it's a wise choice, because it's a quick read. I blew through it in 2-3 days. It's a very conflicting book, because in some regards it's depressing to see how he lived, what his relationships were like, but on other levels, it's inspiring, because he was so dirt poor and bounced around from job to job, but was able to support himself and hi
...more
Michael Oliver
Jan 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mine enemies
What a piece of shit. Chuck Buck prides himself as a worthless human filled with anger and bitterness towards all his fellow men. He has no respect for women or anyone else for that matter, and drinks himself into a state of absolute despair just so he can write about his depressive life in order to persuade the rest of the public to feel better about themselves (I assume). Bile. Waste. A foul excuse for contemporary literature- it's more like contemptuous literature. I'm embarrassed his writing ...more
Lawnzilla
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My first Bukowski novel... couldn't put it down. I find myself relating so much to Henry Chinaski. His manias, his phobias, his inept attempts at becoming a functioning member of society that lead him to realize he truly wasn't a man meant for this world... I find such comfort in his distressing words.

"The bus ran along a very narrow strip of cement that stood up out of the water with no guard-rail, no nothing; that's all there was to it. The bus driver leaned back and we roared along over this
...more
Michael
Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Violet
A perpetually unemployed alcoholic. Henry Chinaski drifts through the seedy city streets of lower-class LA in search of a job. Factotum takes place in 1944 and follows the life of Chinaski in his search for a job that will not separate him from his writing. He is consistently rejected by the only publishing house he respects but he is driven by the knowledge that he could do better than the authors they publish.

When they call Charles Bukowski’s Factotum a beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate nove
...more
George
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Βαθμολογία: 9/10

Αυτό είναι το πέμπτο βιβλίο του Τσαρλς Μπουκόφσκι που διαβάζω (Τοστ ζαμπόν, Ταχυδρομείο, Βρόμικος κόσμος και Αστυνομικό τα προηγούμενα τέσσερα), τον οποίο είναι σαν να γνωρίζω για πρώτη φορά, τόσα χρόνια που πέρασαν από την τελευταία φορά που διάβασα κάτι δικό του (Σεπτέμβριος του 2012!). Τι να πει κανείς για τον συγγραφέα και άνθρωπο Τσαρλς Μπουκόφσκι; Ήταν τιτανοτεράστιος, έζησε την (χαμό) ζωή στα άκρα, έγραψε πάρα πολλές ιστορίες για τους ανθρώπους του περιθωρίου, τους χαμάληδ
...more
Scott
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Working sucks. So does changing jobs all the time. Have a drink. The humor interspersed with the transience and violence is hilarious.
Cwn_annwn_13
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is pretty typical Bukowski. As with most of what he wrote its supposed to be loosely based on his real life experiences. If you can get beyond his annoying habit of trying to convince you of how tough he is and exagerrating if not out and out lying about the frequency of his sexual encounters and the quality of the women involved then its a good quick read for a laugh. The best stuff in this is his humorous accounts of working various disposable menial jobs. Bukowski is very funny, a fact w ...more
Zach
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-fiction
What Catcher in the Rye would have been if Holden grew a set. Excellent narrative that peers into the nature of a directionless young adult who finds sanity at the bottom of a bottle. Bukowski brilliantly penned this tale of a mans personal impotence who drifts aimlessly through a multitude of employment opportunities. He wanders much, cares for little, and drinks all.
Andy Carrington
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelved, life
Fuck work.
Henry Martin
World War II, America and Henry Chinaski. This is Factotum. Charles Bukowski brings his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, back to life in this phenomenal work and with it, he puts himself and society on trial.
A lot, perhaps too much, has been said about Bukowski and his work. While I truly enjoy his short stories the most, Factotum, along with post Office, are among my favorite books written by American authors. Bukowski's writing is simple and straight-to-the-point, and Factotum is no exception. Fille
...more
Adam
Jan 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970-present, prose
Reminded of the book and what I've copy-pasted below by a comment a short while ago on this wonderful review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... I haven't read this entire thing in probably three years or so, but a short search unveiled my dusty copy in a vile corner of my closet, lying next to an Enid Blyton book I nostalgically bought at a used bookstore once but never read. Reread about 40 pages of Factotum and gave up before I threw up. So what follows is just a comment I posted on th ...more
Sarah
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book confirmed for me that Bukowski only tells the one story. That one story generally takes the form of several of the same stories over again, with different surroundings and characters. This book is about many of the jobs Chinaski works in between drinking, writing, and screwing. Women, on the other hand, is about the many women he screws in between drinking and writing. There may be a greater thread of illumination I am missing, but that's all I have to say about it.

This is not to say
...more
Jonny Gibbings
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know, don't know what the fuss is about. Maybe it is me, maybe it was all the hype, but, I thought it Factotum was crap. For the record, I am no intellectual, I am not of the thinking it has to be hard to read to be good, but, for me, Factotum read like it was written by a 15 year old trying to imagine what a hard drinking womaniser would be like.

There was no depth, flimsy characters that the author paints a vague suggestion of, bouncing form job to job - each is brief but lacking. The tale
...more
Mike Lester
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Factotum. I must confess I wasn't familiar with the word until I read this book a few years back, but once I knew the meaning, I had to read the book. This may be one of the most honest portrayals of living life under the radar I've ever read. Having worked a variety of jobs myself, often stultifying, never fulfilling, Bukowski's book was a constant reminder of the degree of dignity that must be surrendered in order to survive on a daily basis. If you ever find yourself in a job where you have t ...more
Lori
Jan 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I like Bukowski. I do. He tells it like it is. He doesnt try to make his alter ego Chinaksi into a hero. He's an everyday, down on his luck, boosing and one night standing kinda man.

Bukowski makes writing look easy. His stories are effortless. They flow off the page like a conversation. And here I am saying Stories, when.. in actuality this is a novel. Charles writes his novels in a sort of short story form. Each chapter is a story in itself, they can be read on thier own, in no particular orde
...more
رؤيا شعبان
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
It was so fast ! but enjoyable read !
this story got no plot to follow . ..
you just go with Henry Chinaski hunting jobs , and meeting new people , drinking , hanging around !
i think my favorite character is Jan , no doubt .. am looking forward to read " Post office " even thought i kinda hated the simple writing style or whatever !

Ahmad
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: دارم
لیترالی ناامید شدم :|
یک. ترجمه قطعن نقص داشت.، مثلن فرض کنید کتاب نوشته دهه نود بعد پانوشت زده مترجم که منظور قرن نوزده میلادی است. دا فاق آخه؟
نمیدونم کل این که دوستش نداشتم ضعف ترجمه بود یا اینکه انتظاراتم از کتاب یه چیزی در حد عامهپسند بود و خود اثر هم در اون حدودا نبود.
اوایلش خوب بود ولی خب از صفحه هشتاد به بعد کم کم ریتم تکراری و غیرهیجان انگیزی پیدا میکرد انگار.
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What is your favourite Charles Bukowski book? 14 167 Feb 16, 2015 04:55PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: # 41 Factotum 1 5 May 18, 2014 10:05AM  
  • Clown Girl
  • Skagboys
  • Dreams from Bunker Hill (The Saga of Arthur Bandini, #4)
  • Dead Babies
  • The Basketball Diaries
  • The Coma
  • The Room
  • The Fuck-Up
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Selected Essays from: How to be Alone
  • The Informers
  • One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night
  • The Contortionist's Handbook
  • Guts
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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
More about Charles Bukowski...
“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.” 6124 likes
“My ambition is handicapped by laziness” 5638 likes
More quotes…