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Women

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  55,608 ratings  ·  2,454 reviews
Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

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, runn
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Paperback, 291 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Ecco (first published 1978)
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Yesenia Charles Bukowski wrote this to a friend, in a letter:

"[D]on’t wait for the good woman. She doesn’t exist. There are women who can make you feel more…more
Charles Bukowski wrote this to a friend, in a letter:

"[D]on’t wait for the good woman. She doesn’t exist. There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts. The female loves to play man against man, and if she is in a position to do it there is not one who will not resist. The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal. and torture and damnation. Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell."

If he had said this about blacks versus whites (that black people are all bad, that only white people are loyal), IN THE 197OS, nobody would expect readers to feel empathy or tolerance. Female readers are expected to somehow divorce an author's hatred of them, as females, from the "greatness" of his writing. I think that that is an unfair expectation for any book written after the 1940s in "Western" countries.(less)
Mark Bau Brutally honest writing isn't everyones cup of tea but that's the attraction of Bukowski for me. I tend to get tired of cute, clever, safe writers.…moreBrutally honest writing isn't everyones cup of tea but that's the attraction of Bukowski for me. I tend to get tired of cute, clever, safe writers. Reading Bukowski is like him pissing on you while he's telling you a really great story.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.87  · 
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 ·  55,608 ratings  ·  2,454 reviews


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Ryan McDonald
Jun 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Lydia
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 22, 2007 rated it liked it
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
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary, edgy, canon, american
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
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Arthur Graham
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Probably my least favorite Bukowski novel, if only because it is the one most commonly used against him by readers with a college freshmen understanding of what misogyny actually is. Anyone who's ever read the man's oeuvre or seen any of his interviews and walked away with the impression that he was anything but an equal-opportunity misanthrope might have a slightly skewed view of things. If anything, he was harder on the men around him, and he hated everyone for their greed, cruelty, and dullne ...more
Vit Babenco
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freaks always attract other freaks – it must be some immutable law of nature.
I had on my dead father’s overcoat, which was too large. My pants were too long, the cuffs came down over the shoes and that was good because my stockings didn’t match, and my shoes were down at the heels. I hated barbers so I cut my own hair when I couldn’t get a woman to do it. I didn’t like to shave and I didn’t like long beards, so I scissored myself every two or three weeks. My eyesight was bad but I didn’t like gl
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Eileen
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Arda
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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Shayan Foroozesh
This was my first Bukowski and I don’t believe it will be the last. It’s good to take a peek at his writing when you get too serious in your head and your brain begins to get hot, it’s good to take a glance at his writing to cool it down and get into the life of an ugly old son of a bitch who is, as he describes himself: “I’m just an alcoholic who became a writer so that I would be able to stay in bed until noon”, a writer who “write[s] a lot of crap.” But if you ask me I’d say he writes interes ...more
RandomAnthony
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Elliott
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Schaafsma
"I never pump up my vulgarity. I wait for it to arrive on its own terms."—Chinaski/Bukowski, responding to a woman who has organized his poetry reading and is surprised to find him rather nice and “normal” in person.

I am in general a kind of fan of Bukowski, especially his poetry and early Henry Chinaski novels. He’s brutally honest, nasty about pretentious people, and at the same time viciously self-deprecating. He worked for decades in factories, in the post office, in a variety of odd jobs he
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owilkumowa
Bukowski knew shit about women.
Michael
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Henry Martin
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jim
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sexuality
I really didn't know how to take this book and I'm not sure that I have it figured out yet. I knew little about Bukowski going into this one but it didn't take very long to figure out that the antihero Hank Chinaski is actually the alter ego of Bukowski. Both aging writers, German birth, -ski surname, etc, etc. The story seemed pointless at first, very sexual in nature; grittily,needlessly specific sexual content that couldn't even claim to be erotic in nature. Chinaski has carnal relations with ...more
Po Po
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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Shauna
Mar 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Thomas Strömquist
I got this from a friend and read it at an age when guess I could have liked it - I didn't (like it that is, that's what a GoodReads one star is - Didn't like it). Everything that positive reviews list as reasons to like this book are the same ones that makes it utterly uninteresting to me. Never got it, had it been today there's no way I would have finished this. But I learned from the experience and won't ever pick up anything else by him.
Tia
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My God, this book is perfect. I finished it a day ago, so I've had time to digest it. It's gonna be hard to move onto my next book, my rebound read, because I'm still hung up on this one. I'm in love with it. I can't find a single flaw in it. This was my first Bukowski book, and I doubt his others will be able to live up to it for me. This would have to be one of my favorite books of all time, right up there with House of Leaves.

Basically this is autobiographical fiction about a brief period in
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Anna
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Frances
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own
I know I am not the only one who has a love and hate relationship with Bukowski. Some said he was their hero. I can understand you, though. Partly because he was so relatable-in a sense that my (our) feelings and thoughts were articulated and was better put into words in his writings. In my age, I have no idea what I'm doing and Bukowski made me feel that it is okay to feel so. To hate my job. To hate my past lovers. To feel lazy. To feel lonely. To feel unsatisfied. To feel degraded just becaus ...more
Jason
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
How do I rate a book on here with 6 stars?

When I was a teenager this book was the first dirty novel I read and it was the point I became obsessed with Bukowski. Now reading this many years later I still love this book, it still feels really dirty too. Bukowski is the ultimate rock-star of the poetry world and this book is the proof.

Bukowski will shag any woman who is up for it, he'll treat them mean and in some cases drive them insane, he makes mistakes and doesn't learn from them cos he doesn't
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Adina
Jun 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
I think it was more of a personal challenge to actually finish the book. I wanted to throw it away every time I opened it, but I always hoped that maybe, maybe there was a good part coming. Could have spent the money on a decent lunch instead of this.

The main character spends so much time describing the sexual encounters and his drunken stupor that you feel no remorse, no sentiment from him, no nothing. Just a child that sees a new toy and damn sure he's going to get it and play with it, then to
...more
Amir
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
I was a writer. I was a dirty old man. Human relationships didn't work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death--in a cesspool. The most one could hope for in a human relationship, I decided, was two and one-half years.


منطق بعضی از کتا
...more
Steven Godin
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america, fiction
I have never laughed so much in all my life over a book more than this!, it's hilarious, farcical, damn right rude, and just SO readable!. Thank you Hank, you bought a joyful tear to a man's eye!
Michael Jandrok
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I often find myself picking up Bukowski in times of stress or other psychological need. His writing is often tough and brutal, difficult to navigate, a reminder of the ugliness of the world. And yet, there is always that undercurrent of truth, of beauty hidden beneath the grime. Or maybe the word I’m really looking for is “human.” Yes, that’s it. Reading Bukowski reminds me of what it’s like to be human, warts and faults and pettiness and farts and bad breath and all. It’s always an adventure re ...more
Olivera
Mar 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
Well, this is one of the instances where I'm not sure how I should start my review. It's not because I don't have anything to say, because trust me, I have sooo many opinions, I just have no idea where my rant should begin.

First of all, how the fuck is Bukowski this popular? Please someone explain this to me, because I can't wrap my mind around the fact that people actually love and worship him as an author. And how did he not have like a thousand children and didn't die of liver cirosis or STD
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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
“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.” 4980 likes
“being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” 3203 likes
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