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Factotum

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  59,794 ratings  ·  1,786 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 May 31st 2002 by Ecco (first published 1975)
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Erânio O mesmo autor? Bukowski? Leia "Women" (Mulheres)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  59,794 ratings  ·  1,786 reviews


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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
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
Vit Babenco
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Schaafsma
I love this poem about the drunken Charles Bukowski, written by Raymond Carver, depicting (fictional?) Buk speaking to a bunch of creative writing students, in “You Don’t Know What Love Is”:

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

A “factotum” describes someone who does a range of "low-level" (meaning low-paid) 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 (oh, he always could, and even now, years gone, could pr
...more
Mutasim Billah
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fac·to·tum
/fakˈtōdəm/
noun
An employee who does all kinds of work.

Welcome Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's ever sarcastic, cynical, alcoholic and perpetually unemployed alter-ego. It's the 1940s, Chinaski had been rejected by the World War II drafts on account of his mental health, and he's searching for a job. A job that would serve him nicely and won't come in between him and his true love: writing.
“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed,
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Factotum, Charles Bukowski

Factotum (1975) is the second novel by German born American author Charles Bukowski. Set in the 1940's, the plot follows Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's perpetually unemployed, alcoholic alter ego, who has been rejected from the World War II draft and makes his way from one menial job to the next (hence a factotum).

Chinaski drifts through the seedy city streets of lower-class Los Angeles in search of a job that will not come between him and his first love: writing. He is co
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Jon Nakapalau
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, favorites
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.
Brian
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brian by: Ned
"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 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, but Bukowski isn'
...more
Supreeth
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Supreeth by: Magdalen
Chinaski has this new job, he's a bartender now. He's not all into it anyway. He can't remember the name of the woman he had sex with last night, or was it last hour? He's not sure. The bar is pretty noisy, this singer's all, work work work work. She's sort of dusky and short, wearing black lipsticks. She's wiggling and wobbling, but he's not into her.
work work work work.
'These people are assholes' he murmurs. He said me huffi, work work work work work
'These people are assholes, they're all cow
...more
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
Lawnzilla
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Cathérine
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-bezit, proza
Great as always, you gotta love him!
André
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Baby," I said, "I'm a genius but nobody knows it but me.”

... a genius barfly of wrongdoing, and a master of procrastination.
When someone is so into an endless pit, ambition is something that definitely lacks. Henry Chinaski, like the typical anti-hero, is careless in harsh periods. When several young people were fighting at the world war II, away from their homes, our dearest anti-hero was dwelling and struggling around the country.
Set in the 1940s, during and after World War II, Bukowski pre
...more
Zach
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Michael Jandrok
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definition of factotum. 1 : a person having many diverse menial tasks or responsibilities. 2 : a general servant.

First off, I need to tell you that I should know better than to read Bukowski around the holidays. I have to be in a certain mood, a certain frame of mind, to read Bukowski. Plus I tend to believe that books have a lifeline of their own into our subconscious to some degree, that there may be a “right” time to pick them out of the pile for a reading. Conversely, of course, that must m
...more
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
Henry Martin
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Working sucks. So does changing jobs all the time. Have a drink. The humor interspersed with the transience and violence is hilarious.
BlackOxford
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american
Site-seeing on a Budget

The human body comes equipped with any number of genetic and acquired defects. Yet it is very difficult to kill. This seems to be the principal message of most of Bukowski’s work. To the extent his protagonist, Hank Chinaski, is biographical, one can only marvel at his ability to survive such largely self-inflicted misery and his refrainment from self-immolation.

“The desire to find a job did not seem to be with me,” Chinaski says after enduring several weeks of virtual sta
...more
Cwn_annwn_13
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Cody
Jun 25, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Michael Oliver
Jan 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
_PARNIAN_
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a bluebird in my heart
That wants to get out
But i'm too tough to him...
Stinky Girl
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Full review later.
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
Jonny Gibbings
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Steven-John Tait
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the third book of Bukowski's that I've read. I liked it. Of the three, Post Office is my clear favourite.

Although it's a bit repetitive, Factotum is the work of a true working class, impoverished, writer. It is an unpolished and harsh work that could loosely compare to Orwell's Down and Out and London's People of the Abyss, but Factotum has the added bite of being written by someone who lived that life, instead of by those who only visited it.

It won't be the last book of Bukowski's I re
...more
Mike
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mike by: William

"I nodded and told him that I understood. But that wasn't enough, he had to show me how to pull anchor and unmoor from the dock when all I wanted was another drink."

Bukowski was right in a lot of ways. The workaday life really does suck. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The underbelly of America is encapsulated at the local Greyhound station. Henry Chinaski, in Factotum, is "horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed." It's all
...more
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What is your favourite Charles Bukowski book? 22 247 Dec 02, 2018 08:24AM  
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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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