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One of 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 into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.

208 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1975

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About the author

Charles Bukowski

767 books27.1k followers
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 of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books

Charles Bukowski was the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. At the age of three, he came with his family to the United States and grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles City College from 1939 to 1941, then left school and moved to New York City to become a writer. His lack of publishing success at this time caused him to give up writing in 1946 and spurred a ten-year stint of heavy drinking. After he developed a bleeding ulcer, he decided to take up writing again. He worked a wide range of jobs to support his writing, including dishwasher, truck driver and loader, mail carrier, guard, gas station attendant, stock boy, warehouse worker, shipping clerk, post office clerk, parking lot attendant, Red Cross orderly, and elevator operator. He also worked in a dog biscuit factory, a slaughterhouse, a cake and cookie factory, and he hung posters in New York City subways.

Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including Pulp (1994), Screams from the Balcony (1993), and The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992).

He died of leukemia in San Pedro on March 9, 1994.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,510 reviews
Profile Image for P.F. Chang.
4 reviews62 followers
October 2, 2009
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 several times, alone.

this is the first bukowski novel i've read. i understand how people could claim that he's misogynistic, but it seems more to me like he is someone who is extremely detached from people in general, but also enjoys the experience of sex. when he talks about women in an "overly sexualized" way, they are usually women he doesn't know. in my experience, i usually objectify/have enhanced biases towards strangers of any kind -- or like, when i see a man i don't know who i'm intensely attracted to, i usually focus strongly on his physical characteristics because it's impossible to do anything else without knowing someone. bukowski seems to objectify women in a way that is not offensive, it just strikes me as what people who don't interact with a lot of people do, because people are always at a distance. he objectifies everything, kind of.

i empathized with him a lot. if he were alive and someone it made sense for me to know, i would probably have intense feelings for him and we would have sex but he wouldn't be able to fall in love with me because he was too self-involved/depressed, or he'd see that i care too much or something. still, reading this made me feel less alone.

i recommend this book to people who are depressed, introverted, maybe have had problems with alcohol, disenchanted with people/society in general, don't like lengthy descriptions/cliches/"language masturbation," and are able to view life with a detached, sarcastic eye.
Profile Image for Madeleine.
Author 2 books867 followers
March 14, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,101 reviews7,203 followers
July 13, 2023
A Jack Kerouac-type story of bumming across the country. But Hank Chinaski, our main character, started in LA and went east while Jack started east and went west.

Jack would be a fun guy to have a beer with. And so would Hank except that with Hank, at the end of the night, you’d have to call a cab, dump him in the back seat and give the cabbie his address, (to some run-down boarding house with bedbugs). Somehow next morning you’d still end up posting bail for him.

The author lived the life of his character, at least for ten years when he was a raving alcoholic. Bukowski wrote many novels but was better known as a poet in his lifetime (1920-1994). Someone called the author the “Poet Laureate of Lowlife.”


In the book, Hank is a full-blown alcoholic, working a job now and then to get enough money for his next binge. He loves to travel cross-country by bus and train, his suitcase filled with pints of whisky. In the book he starts out in New Orleans and travels to LA, then Philly and St. Louis, LA again, Miami and back to LA. (Although published in 1975, the story is set in the 1940s just after WW II.)

His parents are in LA. When he comes home, drunk of course, there are tears, screaming, slappings from his mother, and fist fights with his father. Living at home is “not an option.”

He’s constantly hitting on women in low-life bars and has a high success ratio – they are almost always prostitutes. So we have some graphic sex, and a bit about bodily functions that strikes me as almost ‘in celebration' of the fact that it is 1975 and you could write stuff like that now and still get published.

Of course Hank is a misogynist. We also have the occasional inappropriate remarks about Jews, Blacks, Hispanics and gays. When he cleans up his hotel room he thinks “I must be turning fag.” But as drinking buddies, Hank loves everyone until he decides to slap a woman or punch a guy out.


Hank is an aspiring writer who sends stories out weekly and occasionally has one published for $50. But in the meantime (years) a lot of the story is about the low-level jobs he worked.

This is the only novel I’ve read that gives you an accurate idea of what it’s like to work jobs like these because I did too, and Bukowski tells it like it is. As a kid in high school and college I worked part-time evenings and full-time summers in three grocery stores (meat, produce and stocking shelves), clean-up boy in Woolworths, boxing hot-dog buns in an automated bakery, a hardware warehouse unloading trucks, taxi driver, a soda-canning plant, and three plastics factories (including the Titleist golf-ball factory!) and as a salesclerk in Western Auto (anyone remember those?).

I liked the story and it’s an easy read with straight-forward writing. I’m glad I read something by a new author previously unknown to me. Since then I've also read and enjoyed his novel Post Office.


[Revised 7/13/23]

The author's grave in Los Angeles from, wikipedia
Workers in a Texas onion warehouse in the 1950s from texashistoryarchives.com
The author from amazon.com
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews36 followers
October 16, 2021
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 consistently rejected by the only publishing house he respects, but is driven to continue by the knowledge that he could do better than the authors they publish.

Chinaski begins sleeping with fellow barfly Jan, a kindred spirit he meets while drowning his sorrows at a bar.

When a brief stint as a bookie finds him abandoned by the only woman with whom he is able to relate, a fling with gold-digging floozy Laura finds him once again falling into a morose state of perpetual drunkenness and unemployment.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز هفتم ماه دسامبر سال دوهزاروهجده میلادی

عنوان هزار پیشه؛ نویسنده چارلز بوکوفسکی؛ مترجم نیلوفر داد؛ ویراستار بابک حقایق؛ تهران، قاصدک صبا، ‫یکهزاروسیصدونودوشش هجری؛ در یکصد هفتاد و هشت صفحه؛ شابک9786005675306؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آلمانی تبار ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

عنوان: هزار پیشه؛ نویسنده: چارلز بوکوفسکی؛ مترجم: علی‌ امیرریاحی؛ ویراستار سعید خواجه‌ افضلی؛ تهران، نگاه‏‫‬، 1396؛ در199ص؛

قهرمانِ داستانِ هزارپیشه، جوانی است به نام «هنری چیناسکی» است، که دوستانش او را «هَنک (خودمانی «هنری») صدا می‌زنند، همانندِ خودِ «بوکوفسکی» که همه‌ او را به این نام می‌شناختند؛ در واقع او هم همانندِ نویسنده، یک آمریکاییِ «لهستانی‌» تبار است؛ «هنک» از خدمت نظام وظیفه معاف شده، و حتی اگر هم معاف نمی‌شد، بعید بود در جنگ شرکت کند؛ داستان در سال‌هایِ آخرِ جنگِ دومِ جهانی، و نیز دوره ی پس از جنگ می‌گذرد، یعنی زمانیکه همه ی همسن و سال‌هایِ او،در جبهه‌ های اروپا، آفریقا، و خاورِ دور، هستند؛ اما «چیناسکی» علاقه‌ ای به آن کارها ندارد؛ او اشتغال به هر کارِ پَستِ دیگری را، به جان و دل می‌پذیرد، و اوقاتِ فراغتش را، صرفِ نوشخواری، و زنبارگی، و ولگردی، می‌کند؛ به روزنامه ی «لُس‌آنجلس تایمز» می‌رود، تا برای شغلِ روزنامه‌ نگاری درخواستِ کار کند، اما وقتی از اداره ی کارگزینیِ روزنامه، به او خبر می‌دهند، که تنها برای شغلِ نظافت‌چی می‌توانند، استخدامش کنند، این شغل را رد نمی‌کند.؛ دوست دارد، حتی موقعِ عشقبازی به موسیقیِ کلاسیک گوش بدهد؛ این دوره ی بحرانیِ سال‌هایِ جنگ، و دوره ی بلافاصله پس از آن، باعثِ آن شده است، که او کمترین توجهی به راه و رسمِ رایجِ «زندگیِ آمریکایی» نشان ندهد؛ تنها چیزی که موردِ علاقه ی «چیناسکی‌» است، و او به طور جدی به آن می‌پردازد، نوشتنِ داستان‌هایِ کوتاهی است که با دست پاکنویس می‌کند، چون ماشین تحریر ندارد، و برای مجله‌ هایِ مهمِ ادبی می‌فرستد؛

او می‌خواهد نویسنده بشود، و به عنوانِ نویسنده شناخته شود؛ در زندگیِ کولی‌ واری که در پیش گرفته است (و ظاهراً هیچ آخر و عاقبتِ خوشی برایِ آن نمی‌توان تصور کرد) هیچ چیزِ دیگری برایِ او مهم نیست.؛ او منتظر است؛ منتظرِ اینکه جامعه ی ادبی او را کشف کند؛ این تنها چیزی است که خواب و خوراک از او بریده است؛ و این در حقیقت، شمه‌ ای از زندگینامۀ خودِ «بوکوفسکی» است؛ در واقع اُلگوی قهرمانِ این داستان، و دیگر رمان‌هایِ «بوکوفسکی»، خودِ اوست؛

قلم بوکوفسکی همیشه جذاب است؛ ایشان ساده و کوتاه می‌نویسند؛ دیالوگ‌های طولانی در آثارش وجود ندارد؛ کلمات پیچیده استفاده نمی‌کند؛ به دنبال این نیست که خوانشگر را تحت تاثیر قرار دهد؛ ترسی از به کار بردن واژه‌ های محاوره ای و کوچه بازاری ندارد؛ زشت است ولی این زشتی را به زیبایی نشان می‌دهد؛ موضوعات مهمی که دیگران به آن باور دارند، و برای آن حاضرند جان خود را فدا کنند، به سخره، و زندگی را آسان‌تر از هر فرد دیگری، می‌گیرد؛ از بیهودگی فرار نمی‌کند، و زندگی را به طرزی جذاب مسخره نشان می‌دهد و…؛ در عین حال «بوکوفسکی» در آثارش خوانشگر را به چالش می‌کشد، که فکری به حال خودش بکند؛ چون اگر این کار را نکند، غرقِ دنیای بیهودگی می‌شود؛

برای این نقطه ها را با نقطه‌ویرگول یا سمیکالون جایگزین میکنم که هر روز برادران با یاری نرم افزارهای چین متنهای فارسی نگاشته شده را به هم میریزند، تا برای دیگران قابل خوانش نباشد، آداب و ادب کشورمان را خود به دست جوانان خود ویران میکنیم

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,466 reviews3,632 followers
January 4, 2020
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?”
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m not.”
“What do you write?”
“Short stories mostly. And I’m halfway through a novel.”
“A novel, eh?”
“What’s the name of it?”
“‘The Leaky Faucet of My Doom.’”
“Oh, I like that. What’s it about?”
“Everything? You mean, for instance, it’s about cancer?”
“How about my wife?”
“She’s in there too.”
“You don’t say. Why do you want to work in a ladies’ dress shop?”
“I’ve always liked ladies in ladies’ dresses.”

Dull jobs in the dull world: he didn’t care about anything. He wanted to be a writer. And he kept writing all the time and anywhere.
I drank for some time, three or four days. I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.

He honestly told the world what kind of the man he was and what kind of the world he lived in and in spite of anything he became a writer… one of the most uncompromising writers.
Profile Image for Mutasim Billah .
112 reviews199 followers
August 5, 2020
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, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

Chinaski works one menial job after another and gets thrown out of most, except the ones he leaves on his own (hence, factotum). He constantly writes short-stories to Clay Gladmore, whose New York magazine "Frontfire" he admired. As it happens, all of them come back with a rejection slip.

“Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.”

As with most Chinaski stories, we end up finding love over drinks at a bar....

"Baby,” I said, “I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.”
She looked down at me. “Get up off the floor you damn fool and get me a drink. "

....or over a hamburger and beer....

"She was strange; she was always hot in the morning with her hangovers. I was not so hot in the mornings with mine. I was a night man. But at night she was always screaming and throwing things at me: telephones, telephone books, bottles, glasses (full and empty), radios, purses, guitars, ashtrays, dictionaries, broken watch bands, alarm clocks…She was an unusual woman."

....only to lose it all.

“I hate it when he fucks me,” Jan had said. She was now probably saying the same thing about me to him.

In the end, we just get a full-on Bukowski moment at a strip-joint, as we prepare to go out in a blaze of unemployed, poverty-stricken, alcoholic frenzy, but....

"And I couldn’t get it up."

Loved this book, from start to finish.

Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,195 reviews1,817 followers
March 5, 2022

Il film omonimo del 2005 diretto da Bent Hamer con Matti Dillon nei panni di Chinaski.

Questa edizione arriva con una ghiottissima prefazione di Beniamino Placido e io non riesco a trattenere un peana per quest’uomo così intelligente e colto e divertente e misurato che mi ha regalato tanti momenti belli, letture insieme profonde e spassose, che leggevo e studiavo anche se non era testo in programma, l’unico che mi ha spinto a leggere la rubrica ‘Televisione’ su un quotidiano perché quando la teneva lui, per anni su Repubblica, era brillante intelligente colta ma non snob, e dopo di lui il diluvio…

Cosa non si fa per portare a casa un fiasco di vino...

Factotum è il secondo romanzo di Bukowski, pubblicato a quattro anni dal primo (1975) e secondo me insieme a quello rimane il suo miglior lavoro, almeno nel campo del romanzo (se ne contano sei in tutto, 36 raccolte di poesie e 14 di racconti, per un totale di 1446 scritti brevi – viene da pensare che non reggesse alla distanza causa sonnolenza alcolica).

La migliore compagnia.

Come il titolo indica chiaramente è la storia di un uomo che fa tutto: Hank Chinasky, il suo eterno alter ego protagonista, se ne va in giro per gli States come un hobo, come un beatnik alla Kerouac trent’anni dopo, da una città all’altra da un mestiere all’altro, guadagnandosi il pane, o meglio, il vino e altri alcolici purché economici, facendo tutti i lavori che trova e che gli capitano. Sono ovviamente tutti lavori di fatica manuale, tutti alquanto umilianti.
E comunque Hank ci mette poco a sentirsi umiliato, e alienato, e fuori posto, e sprecato: litiga, protesta, arriva tardi, se ne va prima, è distratto, ama le marachelle, non calcola le conseguenze...
Come dice il mio amato prefatore, sono dissidenti, sia lui, Chinaski, che l’altro, Bukowski:
Per farla breve, sappiamo benissimo che fra i due sistemi, quello sovietico, quello americano, le differenze storiche culturali istituzionali sono immense. Però questi due grandi paesi qualche elemento in comune ce l’hanno. Sono capaci di possenti sforzi finanziari per mandare missili nel cielo ed eserciti sulla terra: ma quanto alla vita quotidiana che sono in grado di garantire ai loro umili sudditi, ��, dall’una e dall’altra parte, orrenda.

D’altra parte, i padroni, i datori di lavoro quando va bene sono paternalistici, supponenti e imbroglioni:
La probità laboriosa che si aspettano dai sottoposti, non ce la mettono mica tanto nei loro affari. Rubano sulle vernici, imbrogliano sui pezzi di ricambio, fregano nei ristoranti.

Anche qui centocinquanta smilze paginette senza un vero plot, e se c’è non si nota, il tempo scorre e le attività si susseguono, entrambi, attività e tempo, si ripetono, il tasso alcolico è elevato, il sesso domina, anche se il romanzo chiude con un desolante:
E io non riuscivo a rizzarlo.

È la scrittura che regna sovrana, diretta, immediata, spumeggiante nella sua semplicità.
È l’umanità che trasuda e traspare.
È la poesia che viene fuori.
È il punto di vista, così basso è difficile trovarne un altro: ma ci porta in alto, ci fa dominare il mondo. È la voce degli ultimi, che non saranno mai primi, ma che grazie a lui acquistano almeno voce.

Profile Image for Joshua Nomen-Mutatio.
333 reviews892 followers
August 3, 2016
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 of my poet friends in high school once told me that he only would read Bukowski while taking a shit. This has stuck with me over the years. Once, a girl I became involved with praised Bukowski while simultaneously giving me a caveat about what a terrible sexist he was. This is where I’m coming from.

I started reading this one on the shitter after a long day’s work. Then I moved to the couch where I drank alcohol and chain-smoked cigarettes while zooming through the book. I sneered at the blunt simplicity of the sentences at first, feeling the intense distance between this kind of writing and the George Saunder’s stories I’d been reading recently, as well as the generally more stylistically interesting and intellectually potent books I tend to gravitate towards. But I still felt entertained by this stuff, nonetheless. As more Tesco brand scotch intersected with my veins, I began to see slightly more nuance to this rather thematically repetitive first-person, clearly auto-bio stuff that Bukowski had written about a drunk-as-shit-nihilist/struggling writer who clearly is himself. Very little imagination seemed to be at work here. Just the spilt guts of a self-aggrandizing louse. But yet, I continued to be entertained, so I pressed on, feeling each sentence flow by without much effort on my part. Following the narrative of being employed many, many times, failing and getting fired just as many, drinking, drinking, drinking (to a sickening degree), and barnacle-ing to the hulls of a series of horrendously-depicted females. That’s about all there is to this novel. Working, Drinking, Fucking. Rinse, repeat.

“Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.”

But amidst the misspelled words (“he lighted his cigarette”) and dumb-assed factual errors (the USA fighting China in WWII) I gradually found some remarkably “human” moments speckled within the details. There’s a potent dissatisfaction with the exploitative nature of American Capitalism to be found within the job-after-fucking-job experiences the narrator tumbles through. There’s something weirdly edifying in witnessing the details of a severe drunk’s day-to-day physical ailments and triumphs and tribulations, even when nauseating, like most of them are. Even the contemptible attitudes displayed toward women have an oddly true ring to them. This is NOT to say that I agree with treating women like shit the way Bukowski clearly does, but that his shittiness is a stark reminder of certain horrible realities that do certainly exist in the minds of many men. And this I found interesting, in an historico-anthropological sort of way, while simultaneously depressing and upsetting.

And then I thought of Raymond Carver. He also was once a real-life drunk of epic proportions who wrote in tight, blunt, staccato, matter-of-fact sentence-lumps, consistently describing soul-crushing work-weeks, oceans of booze and cluttered ashtrays. Why do I like his writing so much and yet feel this strong, largely pre-emptive aversion to Bukowski? That’s the question. Carver's prose-style is really no more innovative or poetic than Chuck’s, but yet when I read two of Carver’s collections I encountered them with such a different attitude and happy reception. Carver, for one, doesn’t denigrate women the way Bukowski does. That’s one thing. And while he speaks of little else beyond sad, failed, alcoholic people, he manages to make it seem far less about him--the almighty, misanthropic author--and more about said sad, failed, alcoholic people. There’s an extremely off-putting narcissism to Bukowski, so far as I can tell from reading a single book of his, which Carver elegantly transcends, despite similar style and content.

But then I wonder, is there more buried deep within the the wine-soaked walls of Bukowski than lets on immediately? Or, do I perhaps harbor some of the same misanthropy that he nakedly exposes one word to the next? Am I really any better? Well, my answer to the first query is still "NO" and my response to the second still "YES" but contemplating these things during my read was enriching in some way, so I reluctantly give some credit there to ol' CB.

But what was Bukowski, really? A terminally depressed, ego-maniac/self-hater with a bottle permanently pressed to his lips. Some part of me can resonate with this, as much as I high-falutin-ly know that this is the case. There’s a dark knot of nihilism stuck inside my heart, I know this. Perhaps reading these rather bleak and repetitive exploits of Bukowski’s tingles some part of that in me that seeks connection and recognition. I do not know for sure.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
August 18, 2019
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”:


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 probably still do it). I was driving while listening to it, and not drinking as I was driving, for your information, thanks. The story is really a prequel to Ham and Rye, which was about the early years of Henry Chinaski, Bukowksi’s mostly (I am told) autobiographical main character. If Ham on Rye is about Chinaski's lost youth, Buk's second one features Chinaski's lost twenties about booze, terrible jobs, women, and drunken brawls. Because of the title, there might be a greater focus here on all the soul-killing, mind-numbing jobs he worked to pay for flophouse rent and booze, almost all of them from which he was fired, sometimes after only a day.

In one job, he got paid by a bar owner 5 bucks and all the shots of whiskey he could drink to clean a total of six window blinds, which as it turns out took him all day, and in the end required—because he was of course drunk—the help of all his fellow bar patrons, for whom he used the five bucks to buy a round (this was the fifties, when five bucks could actually almost buy a bar full of patrons a round; well, almost. In the end he had to put $8.50 on the tab he owed the bartender).

Bukowski also worked at Sears FIVE different times during this period, fired each time for stealing and various other infractions. Usually for not showing up for work while he was on a three-day bender with some girl, or healing from some fight. Hey, I worked at Sears, in the stockroom, for a year or so! Boring job, in which I hid out and read books during long evening shifts. Did I ever sneak in a bottle of wine for me and my fellow misery-suffering-warehouse rats? I seem to recall I may have done this once or twice, but you ain't a priest, and this ain't no confessional booth.

Factotum doesn’t quite have the innocence of Ham and Rye, when he actually just lusted after various girls and women, when he was just a kid. In this book he actually has a lot of sex, some of it funny, all of it described in gloriously vulgar detail, though finally, as with the jobs, it’s really mostly misery, all the time. He’s going nowhere fast. And it feels like the well-told raucous romp of a million alcoholics. And a guy who is during this time often an unapologetic asshole. I think you could ask any of the women he was “with” during this period for their view of him and it would not be positive (though when they were drinking with him, at least, I am sure they had fun).

But can I turn away and stop listening? Nope. Bukowski will be hilarious for some, and too offensive for many, but he sure can tell a story. The poverty and squalor of Factotum is not quite as fun as it was in Ham and Rye, but at his best, Bukowski is worth the offense, imho:

“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

Who in working class America cannot raise a glass to that? In the end, Bukowski reveals himself in all his assholism to be in the company of other great and painful stories of the ravages of booze, such as Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, or any Kerouac, or Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Bukowski almost convinces you that the pursuit of drunkenness as a way of coping with reality is a kind of spiritual pursuit:

“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.”

Factotum is not for everyone, I warn you, or welcome you, depending on your love of the tales of the down and out.
Profile Image for KamRun .
376 reviews1,444 followers
January 2, 2019
هزارپیشه‌ی نشر نگاه و قاصدک صبا را نخرید

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 هرکسی متوجه می‌شود که همه چیز کس‌شعر است و عقلش می‌آید سر جایش و شروع می‌کند به کلاه‌برداری و دغل‌بازی و کلک سوار کردن تا زیر پای نفر بغل‌دستی‌اش را خالی کند و ازش بیفتند جلو. من هم می‌توانم از لاشه‌ها و زندگی درب‌وداغون مردها و زن‌ها و بچه‌های عاجز و درمانده یک امپراطوری درست کنم و چنان بلایی سرشان بیاورم که جانشان از کون‌شان در‌آید - برداشت از متن

مانند دیگر آثار بوکوفسکی، کاراکتر اصلی این کتاب هم کسی نیست جز خودش، چیناسکی خان دوست‌داشتنی. بوکوفسکی بجز چندسالی در دهه پنجاه میلادی که در اداره پست کار می‌کرد، هیچ‌گاه شغل ثابتی نداشت و چون از نوشته‌هایش هم پول چندانی عایدش نمی‌شد، به شغل‌هایی مثل نظافت‌چی، ظرف‌شویی، کارگری، باربری و ... رو آرود که در این کتاب - که از عنوانش هم پیداست - بخشی از داستان آن روزهایش را روایت می‌کند، روایتی که با آوار��ی، گرسنگی و می‌خوارگی توامان است. بارها حین خواندنش ذوق کردم و با صدای بلند خندیدم که نویسنده بدبختی‌هاش رو چه با خنده و بی‌خیالی بیان کرده. البته مگر می‌شود از چیناسکی توقع دیگه‌ای داشت؟ هی تو! اون پیکِ مِی رو رد کن بیاد

پی‌نوشت: دو ترجمه از کتاب موجود هست، یکی برگردان وازریک درساهاکیان که با دقت و وفاداری کامل و بدون هیچ سانسوری ترجمه و فایل پی‌دف‌اف ش توسط نویسنده منتشر شده و دیگری برگردان فاجعه و پر از حذفیات خانم نیلوفر داد. واقعیت بوکوفسکی را از آثاری که بصورت رسمی در ایران منتشر شده نمی‌شود شناخت، به هیچ عنوان. نه عرف جامعه ظرفیتش را دارد و نه می‌تواند از زیر تیغ سانسور عبور کند. این ترجمه مستثنی از این امر است و از جهت برای مخاطب فارسی‌زبان بسیار ارزشمند و درخور توجه

لینک دانلود هزارپیشه - ترجمه وازریک درساهاکیان (دارای مجوز نشر اشتراکی از مترجم)
Profile Image for Agir(آگِر).
437 reviews510 followers
June 4, 2021
تو این فکر بودم که آدمیزاد به چه خفت و خواری‌هایی باید تن بدهد
تا بتواند یک لقمه غذا زهرمار کند
و کپه‌ی مرگش را یک جایی بگذارد و یک تکه لباس تنش کند

نمیدانم چرا از این مرتیکه اینقدر خوشم میاد...آره بوکفسکی رو میگم...در این دنیایی که زیبایی از سر و رویش می‌بارد، باید هم او یک مرتیکه باشد!!!...لامصب اصلا بلد نیست حرف‌هایی بزند از جنس بلور...نمی‌خواهد با تردستی این جهان را بچپاند آنجایمان...طوری که درد نکشیم...لامصب می‌توانست مثه سیاستمدارها یک آمپول بی‌حسی بزند یا آروم آروم فرو کند...نه این آدم لطافت ندارد...نه واقعا...یک راست می‌رود سر اصل مطلب...جهان گُهی را از کسی پنهان نمی‌کند...و خودش هم می‌ریند به آن!!!
ببین تویی که از این بی ادبی حالت بهم می‌خورد...شاید همیشه جایت گرم و نرم بوده...پدرت کتکت نزده...کمتر ازدلبندم و عزیزم صدایت نزده‌اند...و هیچوقت برای یک لقمه نان، خرحمالی این و آن را نکرده باشی...پس اصلا سعی نکن بوکفسکی را بفهمی...چون نمی‌فهمی!!!

یاده دوره‌ای افتادم که نیواُرلئان بودم، و چند هفته، مدام، با روزی دو تا شکلات پنج سنتی سر می‌کردم تا بتوانم با خیال راخت بنشینم به نوشتن. اما، متاسفانه، گرسنگی کشیدن، باعث اعتلای هنر نمی‌شود؛ سدِ راهش می‌شود. روحِ انسان تو شکمش ریشه دارد. آدم بعد خوردن یک استیک شاهانه و نوشیدن نیم‌بُطر ویسکی، خیلی بهتر می‌تواند بنویسد تا بعد خوردن یک شکلات پنج سنتی. این افسانه‌هایی که راجع به هنرمند آس و پاس به‌هم بافته‌اند، کُس‌شعر است. چندان طولی نمی‌کشد که هرکسی متوجه می‌شود که همه‌چیز ُس‌شعر است، و عقلش می‌آید سرِ جاش و شروع می‌کند به کلاه‌برداری و دغل بازی و کلک سوار کردن تا زیر پای نفر بغل دستی‌اش را خالی کند و ازش بیفتد جلو

تازه دانشگاه را تمام کرده بودم و مجبور بودم برای اینکه خرجم را در بیاورم، چندین کار را امتحان کنم...از نقشه برداری در شهرهای دیگه تا کار توی نان روغنی و بیداری های شبانه ساعت 4 و حالت خستگی و خوابآلودی و منگی در تمام روز....اما در تمام اینها مجبور بودم تقریبا از کتاب خواندن (بهترین لذت زندگی‌ام) چشم پوشی کنم...شاید بخاطر همین هِی کار عوض می‌کردم تا بتوانم مدتی استراحت کنم و کتاب بخوانم....اما بوکفسکی جسارت بیشتری داشت...حتی حین کار هم از باده‌گساری و س ک س نمی‌گذشت...اخراج پشت اخراج...همین را در بوکفسکی بسیار ستایش می‌کنم...همان چیزی باش که می‌خواهی...به خودت احترام بگذار...در این دنیای حمال‌پرور، نگذار کار شخصیت و درونت را ازت بگیرد

وقتی آدم مِی می‌زند، واقف است که دنیا یک جایی آن بیرون، سر جای خودش هست، اما یقه‌ات را سفت و سخت نگرفته که تو هم بیا یه گُهی بخور...رفتم تو رختخواب، سر بطری را باز کردم، بالش را قلمبه کردم و گذاشتم پشت سرم، یک نفس عمیق کشیدم و توی تاریکی نشستم به تماشای بیرون. بعد از پنج روز، اولین بار بود که با خودم خلوت می‌کردم. من به تنهایی معتاد بودم و اگر تنهایی را ازم می‌گرفتند، عین آدمی می‌شدم که آب و خوراکش را ازش گرفته باشند. اگر هرروز یک کمی با خودم خلوت نمی‌کردم، مثل این بود که ضعیف‌تر می‌شدم

حرف آخر: سپاس فراوان از تمام مترجمان با وجدان مانند وازریک درساهاکیان. دمت گرم مردِ بزرگِ ارمنی

جر و بحث ما همیشه همین بود. حالا دیگر گوشی دستم آمده بود که عشاق بزرگ همیشه مردهایی بوده‌اند که دنیا به تخم‌شان هم نیست. من وقتی بی‌خانمان بودم، بهتر می‌گاییدم تا موقعی که هرروز صبح بایستی می‌رفتم سرِ کار
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
5,113 reviews728 followers
December 10, 2021
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. Over the years I have really come to appreciate the raw honesty of Bukowski - his work was always true to who he was. Sometimes I go to the used bookstore by my house just to see if any of his works are there.
Profile Image for Guille.
785 reviews1,750 followers
August 14, 2023

“La gente no necesita amor, lo que necesita es triunfar en una cosa o en otra.”
Bukowsky-Chinasky es un tipo bastante desagradable, un niño egoísta que solo responde a sus necesidades primarias más inmediatas sin importarle… no, sin que las posibles consecuencias puedan ejercer de freno alguno. Todo el que se acerque a él acabará sufriendo, especialmente las mujeres, y tampoco Chinasky escapará a tal fin.
“¿Cómo coño podía un hombre disfrutar si su sueño era interrumpido a las 6:30 de la mañana por el estrépito de un despertador, tenía que saltar fuera de la cama, vestirse, desayunar sin ganas, cagar, mear, cepillarse los dientes y el pelo y pelear con el tráfico hasta llegar a un lugar donde esencialmente ganaba cantidad de dinero para algún otro y aún así se le exigía mostrarse agradecido por tener la oportunidad de hacerlo?”
«Factotum» trata sobre la maldición de trabajar. Chinaski empieza a publicar alguno de sus cuentos (a pesar de su escaso éxito, él está seguro de su genialidad, como en su día su admirado Fante), pero eso no le da para vivir ni mucho menos y necesita de un trabajo, aunque el trabajo le deje muy claro una y otra vez que no lo necesita a él.
“—Tenéis un trabajo aquí de lo más repugnante. ¿Por qué lo hacéis?
—Mierda, no hay más remedio.
—El Señor nos dijo que sí lo hay.
—¿Crees tú en el Señor?
—¿En qué crees?
—En nada.
—Pues igual que nosotros.”
Pero no es que Chinaski sea un luchador por la clase obrera, nada más lejos de la realidad. En los pocos momentos que disfrutó de algo de poder se comportó con sus subordinados como el más hijodeputa de sus jefes, y tuvo unos cuantos hijosdeputas. El único arma que esgrime contra la sociedad que odia es la botella, su segunda gran necesidad, que cubría con mucha generosidad a todas horas… literalmente.
“Francamente, estaba horrorizado de la vida, de todo lo que un hombre tenía que hacer sólo para comer, dormir y poder vestirse. Así que me quedaba en la cama y bebía. Mientras bebías, el mundo seguía allí afuera, pero por el momento no te tenía agarrado por la garganta.”
A Chinasky-Bukowsky solo le interesa Bukowsky-Chinasky, el resto del mundo o respondía a sus necesidades o era algo que había que evitar, todo excepto “su” literatura (poca más), la música clásica, las carreras de caballos, la bebida y, por último, las mujeres.
“Entré y subí las escaleras detrás de ella. Tendría unos cuarenta y cinco años, pero su culo se movía graciosamente. He seguido a tantas mujeres de este modo por las escaleras, siempre pensando que si una agradable dama como ésta se ofreciera a cuidar de mí y alimentarme con guisos calientes y sabrosos y limpiarme los calcetines y los calzoncillos, aceptaría al instante.”
Unas mujeres, que, de forma sorprendente, se empecinaban en permanecer a su lado, si bien, a falta de cama o botella, el medio de comunicación más usual era la pelea… bueno, incluso con cama o botella de por medio. El resto de la humanidad parece más bien molestarle.
“Yo era un hombre que me alimentaba de soledad; sin ella era como cualquier otro hombre privado de agua y comida. Cada día sin soledad me debilitaba. No me enorgullecía de mi soledad, pero dependía de ella. La oscuridad de la habitación era fortificante para mí como lo era la luz del sol para otros hombres.”
«Factotum» sigue la estela de “Cartero” pero a lo bestia, hay más trabajos odiosos, más alcohol, más folleteos, más fuerza en su prosa, más mala leche en sus diálogos, en los pensamientos y en las actitudes de Chinaski, más dejadez en su proceder, más misantropía, más egoísmo en sus relaciones con las mujeres… más de todo. Que lo disfruten... más.
—A veces, pero nunca dura.
—¿Cuál es el problema?
—Una mujer es una ocupación para todo el día. Tienes que elegir entre ella o tu profesión.
—Yo creo que existe un desahogo emocional.
—Y físico también. Ellas quieren follar día y noche.
—Búscate una con la que te guste follar.
—Sí, pero si tú bebes o juegas, ellas se creen que estás despreciando su amor.
—Búscate una a la que le guste beber, jugar y follar.
—¿Quién quiere una mujer así?”
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,085 reviews68.4k followers
August 22, 2019
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 starvation and sleeping on park benches, and just prior to decking his nagging father. Chinaski is a mystical bum who depends a great deal on the spirit to move him to anything more challenging than a glass of beer. To suggest Chinaski is hapless might imply that he cares about his fate. He doesn’t. His aimless wandering is his purpose.

New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, and just about everywhere in between. It’s not clear why Chinaski travels; all the sleazy rooming houses and the low-life bars are the same. The jobs in each are different but their commonality is that no one else will do them. Besides, he is always alone in any case: “I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it.”

Miraculously, it seems, Chinaski finds the strength and the time between drinks to write his short stories - four or five a week. Dedicated to his art, when he isn’t falling off a barstool. The one thing he does have is a sort of vengeful hope that he can make it as a writer. The only thing he has to write about aside from the booze is random sex. It sells of course. Anyone who can have that much sex after that much alcohol has something important to say.

There is a certain seedy courtliness in Chinaski’s encounters. After one particularly vigorous session, for example, he can give credit when credit is due: “for a woman with only one ovary she responded generously.” And he is aware of gentlemanly obligations: “A woman is a full-time job. You have to choose your profession.” If you’re a writer, this rules out anything serious. And it doesn’t inhibit the occasional punch out either. Chinaski is an abuser, even when he’s not drunk.

But the booze always wins, over and over again. The repetition is convincing but tedious. Going nowhere fast is a tough story to tell. Petty pilfering, collegial tiffs, office sex and descriptions of a variety of failing businesses don’t really sustain readerly interest.
Profile Image for Amirsaman.
428 reviews224 followers
January 26, 2019
از دیشب که نصفه‌ی اول کتاب را خواندم، داشتم فکر می‌کردم که این کتاب و اصلا بوکوفسکی چی دارد که اینقدر همه دوسش داریم. چه چیزی بجز توصیفات اروتیک و فحش‌های خلاقانه و داستان و داستان و داستان گفتن! نوشته بودم: «نمی‌دونم چرا کتابای اون خاص و مهم و هنرمندانه می‌شند، اما سبک زندگیِ مبتنی بر داستان اون کتابا، نهایت ذلت و بدبختیه.»
فکر کنم امشب فهمیدم. فقط وقتی به آخرهای کتاب بوکوفسکی رسیدمْ بود که فهمیدم این کتاب همه‌ی چیزی است که می‌توان در مورد طبقه‌ی کارگر گفت؛ همه‌ی حقیقت موجود در این طبقه. هیچکس به خودش زحمت نمی‌دهد تا درباره‌ی کارگرها، «از زبان کارگرها» بنویسد؛ چون نویسنده‌ها همیشه خیلی اتوکشیده‌تر از این حرف‌ها هستند و می‌خواهند سریعا مشکلات مردم را نشان دهند و از فقر شکایت کنند. کسی به «توی» فکر و «توی» زندگی آن‌ها اهمیتی نمی‌دهد.
برای این‌که واقعا بتوانی درمورد کارگرها بنویسی، باید کارگر باشی؛ پس در کتاب خبری از اظهارات ادبی‌ و روشنفکرانه‌ نیست. عوضش کتاب پر است از نقدهای خیلی اساسی به شیوه‌ی بهره‌کشی‌شدن کارگرها. شیوه‌ی زندگی کسالت‌بار و ازخودبیگانه‌سازِ کارمندی. و مهم‌تر، توصیفِ فکر و ذکر کارگرهای بعد جنگ جهانی دومِ آمریکا؛ که به فکر الکلِ امشب هستند و سیگار و زن؛ و خدا را هم شاکرند بابت آن‌چه کف دستشان می‌گذارند، (با این‌که کاملا هم واقف‌اند که نیمی‌ از حقوق ناچیزشان را کارفرمایی برمی‌دارد که بیشتر شبیه برده‌دار است و صاحبان شرکت‌ها با عرق آن‌ها پولدارتر می‌شوند).
همه‌ی این حرف‌ها را می‌زند و همین که اولش آدم نمی‌داند چرا این رمان اینقدر خوب است، نشان می‌دهد که چقدر در بیان حرف‌هایش خونسرد و هنرمند و بزرگ‌منش است، چارلز بوکوفسکی.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
November 5, 2020
Every so often, maybe one in every 200 hundred books, there will be a passage that just speaks to you. It may be just a sentence or a few words or it may be something much larger. But either way, such words have the power to profoundly affect your life.

There is a before and an after. A time where you didn't read them and a time in which you have. And you can mark the progress of your life through such experiences.

And, for me, it's been a long time in which I have read words that have moved me to action so.

I will leave them here:

“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start."



You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 1 book1,026 followers
August 20, 2019
"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't concerned about offending a reader's middle-class American sensibilities. If the reader comes to this text with our typical baggage: work issues, money problems, familial strife - Chinaski's search for his next drink and fuck can be jarring. It's a credit to Bukowski's genius that he can make a character and not a caricature.

How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
Profile Image for Printable Tire.
755 reviews86 followers
June 12, 2008
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 jokes on the other readers, that the jokes not on them, that they’re “with it.” That’s a little too much macho bullshit headgames for me. I like his honesty and he’s usually a quick read, though often repetitive and some of his more ludicrous fantasy escapades are off putting. Usually I don’t like books by writers about writing, but he usually handles it well (when does he have time to write?). Knowing some Joes like him, I wish they took their minds of the bottle and did something productive like write it all down. I��ll read some more of him, but I usually like my machismo with a little more humility, like John Wayne (that’s a joke).
Profile Image for Magdalen.
192 reviews95 followers
December 4, 2016
"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.
Having read Ask the dust it's obvious what effect Fante had on Bukowski. I found so many similarities, but I still like Factotum more.
I am so glad that I read it again because there were so many quotes I've missed when I first read it.

People don't need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn't be

Factotum I guess it's not a book for everyone, but those who dare to read it will find some things to like about it.
Profile Image for Prerna.
222 reviews1,432 followers
September 20, 2020
This is the most torn I have been about a book ever. My thoughts are all over the place.

“Have you ever been in love?”
“Love is for real people.”
“You sound real.”
“I dislike real people.”
“You dislike them?”
“I hate them.”

I have always been fascinated by how a reader's relation with a character varies over time. It is of course is a function of narration, tense and the grammatical person. While reading a character in first person we are made privy to their most private thoughts. Yet, with Henry Chinaski, the protagonist of factotum, our familiarity with him as the book progresses just morphs into a loss of understanding. Chinaski is multidimensional and abstracted at the same time. He is one of the most authentic characters you'll ever read about, and he is also one of those blueprint characters of the archetypal drunk-indifferent-misogynist trope. It is self-contradictory, yet Bukowski seems to have found a way to bypass the dangers of paradoxical characters.

As I relaxed in bed I had this strange feeling in my head. It was as if my skull was made of cotton, or was a small balloon filled with air. I could feel space in my skull. I couldn’t comprehend it. Soon I stopped wondering about it. I was comfortable, it wasn’t agonizing. I listened to symphony music, smoking my father’s cigarettes.

Bukowski was a notorious misanthrope and a horrifying misogynist and it shows in this book. Chinaski is a racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic asshole who actively fantasizes about rape and there were moments when I just had to keep the book away and take deep breaths because the feminist in me was screaming.

If I was any kind of man, I thought, I would rape her, set her panties on fire, force her to follow me all over the world, make tears come to her eyes with my love letters written on light red tissue paper.

There is also a sense of self-removal within the book. At no point in the book is Chinaski portrayed as a 'hero' in the traditional sense of the word. We are not supposed to like him, we are not supposed to empathize with him, Bukowski does not use flowery prose. Chinaski is a dirty cretin and that isn't something Bukowski glorifies within the book. I have to acknowledge that portraying bad characters is not the same as endorsing bad characters.

There is also a sense of removal from the world that Chinaski interacts with. He is steadily disillusioned with the workings of the world and its modernity. He knows that he is just another part of a mechanical whole that the elite control, but he isn't mindless. He does what he needs to in order to get by and then drowns himself in alcohol and perverted thoughts about women. (including a vivid fantasy of raping of a middle-eastern fourteen year old girl)

I knew that if I was driving that I would consider the possibility or desirability of drowning everybody. And sometimes, after just such considerations, possibility turns into reality. For each Joan of Arc there is a Hitler perched at the other end of the teeter-totter. The old story of good and evil. But none of the bus drivers ever dumped us. They were thinking instead of car payments, baseball scores, haircuts, vacations, enemas, family visits. There wasn’t a real man in the whole shitload. I always got to work sick but safe. Which demonstrates why Schumann was more relative than Shostakovich…

I want to give this book four stars.

But, this work is semi-autobiographical and the character Chinaski is based on Bukowski himself. There is a video of Bukowski being verbally and physically abusive towards one of his girlfriends. We know the misogyny didn't just come from a creative well in the deep recesses of his mind, it wasn't just created as a character trait for Chinaski. I don't know how many of Chinaski's opinions are actually just Bukowski's, and this uncertainty will always cause me to read Bukowski begrudgingly, warily and with some feminist rage.

It was good, it was warm; I thought of blue sky and wide clean beaches, yet it was sad—there was definitely a lack of human feeling that I couldn’t understand or deal with.

Profile Image for André.
156 reviews70 followers
August 11, 2019
“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 presents another specific period of his life, a period of continuous unemployment, alcoholism, and experiences with low-life women.
Chinaski roams around LA streets and the US working on temporary jobs. Meanwhile, he tries to conciliate his writing passion, but with no success. The Protagonist tries hard in having his works published, but, is continually rejected by publishers.
During this time period, Bukowski's anti-hero has a close relationship with bar-fly Jan, another low-life with no ambition in life. Laura, a gold-digging hustler, is just another woman that completes Chinaski's mischief world.
The anti-hero presents a period of eternal unemployment, alcoholism, and struggling at extending his writing abilities. Unlike the first novel, the protagonist is much more careless professionally, and, lacks some experience with women. It's in this novel where Chinaski depicts his first experiences with horse racings and his real struggling with writing.
The raw and brutal writing couldn't miss. It's through his literary language that Bukowski delivers his life experiences in an efficient way.
Overall, the author's story is not beautiful. It's a hymn against the tedious daily life, a kind of life that Bukowski strongly rejects.

"How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?"

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Profile Image for Supreeth.
122 reviews276 followers
July 29, 2018
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 cowards', he murmurs again. work work work work
This singer's all twerking and stuff, Chinaski loses it. He says fuck it and walks upto the crowd, 'get out of my way' he grunts, trudging through them. He climbs the stage, people cup their chins, they go all ooh and ah. work work work work, he pushes the girl aside, grabs her mic. "You're fired" the manager screams from the crowd. Chinaski just lost his 178th job.
"Fuck work" he says, dropping the mic.
Profile Image for Παύλος.
233 reviews33 followers
August 15, 2018
Ακομα ένα βιβλιο του Μπουκοφσκι και ακόμα ένα καθαρό 5. Ο λόγος;

Απεχθάνομαι πλήρως την συνήθως φεισμπουκικη τάση της αναγωγής ενός συγγραφέα σε επίπεδα λογοτεχνικής θεότητας που ακόμα και το βηξιμο του αντηχεί ως μελωδία. Γνώρισα το έργο του Μπουκοφσκι ως εργαζόμενος στον χώρο του βιβλιου πριν απο περίπου μια εξαετία και ομολογώ πως τωρα στα 30, μπορώ να καταλάβω την θεοποίησή του. Όχι να την δεχτώ, αλλά να την καταλάβω. Μέσα απο το έργο του παραμένει αναλλοίωτος ο χαρακτήρας του περιθωριακού και γεμάτου ιστορίες τύπου που μέσα απο όλη την μιζέρια του, καταφέρνει και διατηρεί έναν κάποιο συναισθηματισμό αλλά και μια μορφή αγάπης προς κάθε τι όμορφο. Το ίδιο λοιπόν συμβαίνει και εδώ.

Ως θαυμαστής του έργου του (μαζί με το έργο του Σκαμπαρδωνη) δηλώνω σφόδρα μη αντικειμενικός. Αυτά.
Profile Image for صان.
402 reviews246 followers
April 14, 2020
هنوز قلم خام تری داره نسبت به بوکوفسکیِ هالیوود یا عامه‌پسند.
نسبت به اون‌ها کمتر برام جذابیت داشت
اولین باری بود که کتابی از بوکوفسکی بدون سانسور می خوندم. توش صحنه‌های جنسی و کثیف‌کاری زیاد داشت و می‌تونست واقعن حال و تصور آدم رو بهم بزنه و بوکوفسکی با دقت خوبی همه رو شرح داده بود :))
مثل کتاب مامور پست، داستان مشخصی نداشت و خاطرات‌اش رو تعریف می‌کرد.
Profile Image for P.E..
778 reviews559 followers
April 23, 2021
Practicing Schopenhauer
or, Between Pain and Boredom


Work in the United States during WW2
Dead-end jobs
Low-pay jobs
The failure of the education system in the United States in the 20th century

My opinion on the autofiction:

As amusing as some of the dialogues and scenes turn out to be (and some really are - to my taste at least) the shine eventually wears off because of the tedium oozing from the whole book. It mostly reads like a generic series of bad situations to worse situations, involving disastrous job interviews, jobs got and lost, food theft, sex with Jan, and back to a world of quiet misery, leaving no place whatsoever to any significant change in the... story(?). The interest mainly lies in the wisecracks and absurd situations, of which there is a wealth, fortunately :)

Yes, this is from the man who wrote Women, not especially famous for the variety of his prose, but to me, Factotum is as formulaic as it gets.

Charles Bukowski (Tour in Skid Row), 1970 – Photograph by Sam Cherry

Other books in the same niche:

A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember
Down and Out in Paris and London


The Strange
The Genius of the Crowd
Profile Image for Peiman E iran.
1,432 reviews691 followers
June 3, 2022
دوستانِ گرانقدر، به نظر میرسد در رمانِ "هزار پیشه"، «چارلز بوکوفسکی» به نوعی بخشی از زندگیِ خویش را روایت میکند... زندگیِ جوانی به نام «هنری چیناسکی» که استعدادِ نویسندگی دارد.. ترکِ تحصیل کرده و مدام از این شهر به آن شهر سفر میکند و زندگی برایِ او در عرق خوری، سکس و ولگردی تعریف شده است... به قولِ چیناسکی، برای نویسنده شدن، پارتی لازم است که او ندارد.. بنابراین مجبور است برای گذرانِ زندگی، تن به کارهایی بدهد که علاقه ای به آن ندارد... چیناسکی، توانِ ماندن در یک شغل را ندارد و مدام از این شغل به آن شغل پرش میکند و نوعی بی عاری در زندگی اش موج میزند... راویِ داستان، زندگیِ روزمره و شرایطِ شغل هایی که انتخاب میکند را به خوبی در داستان بیان کرده است.. البته برای خواندن باید ترجمه ای را انتخاب کنید که بدونِ سانسور باشد. من این کتاب را با ترجمه وازریک درساهاکیان خواندم
نکتۀ جالب این است که جوانانِ ایرانی در به در به دنبالِ کار هستند، ولی در آمریکا، چیناسکی به راحتی شغل پیدا میکند و دلش با هیچ شغلی نیست و فقط به فکرِ ولگردی، زن بارگی و شراب خواریست
در زیر به انتخاب نوشته هایی از این کتاب را برایتان مینویسم
زندگی یک هول و ولایی به جانم انداخته بود.. تو این فکر بودم که آدمیزاد به هر خفت و خواری باید تن بدهد تا بتواند یک لقمه غذا زهرمار کند و کپۀ مرگش را یک جایی بگذارد و یک تکه لباس تنش کند.. این بود که مانده بودم در رختخواب و مِی میزدم.. وقتی آدم مِی میزند و مست میکند، واقف است که دنیا یک جایی آن بیرون، سر جایِ خودش هست، اما یقه ات را سفت و سخت نگرفته که تو هم بیا یک گُهی بخور
حالا دیگر گوشی دستم آمده بود که عُشاقِ بزرگ، همیشه مردهایی بوده اند که دنیا به تخمشان هم نبوده.. من وقتی بی خانمان بودم، بهتر میگاییدم، تا وقتی که هر روز صبح بایستی میرفتم سرِ کار
خودمانیم، آخه چه کیفی دارد که آدم شش و نیمِ صبح با زنگِ ساعتِ شماطه دار، بیدار شود، از تخت بپرد بیرون، لباس بپوشد، به زور یک چیزی کوفت کند، بشاشد، بریند، مسواک بزند، شانه ای بکشد به موهاش و تو ترافیکِ اعصاب خورد کنِ صبح، خودش را برساند به جایی که اصولاً کارش این باشد که عرق بریزد و کلی پول درست کند برای یک بابایِ دیگر.. بعد هم از اینکه همچین فرصتی در اختیارش گذاشته اند، کمالِ تشکراتِ خود را ابراز کند!!!؟
امیدوارم این ریویو در جهتِ آشنایی با این کتاب، کافی و مفید بوده باشه
«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»
Profile Image for Ehsan'Shokraie'.
632 reviews163 followers
January 24, 2019
با تشکر از دوست عزیز Kamrunبخاطر فایل این کتاب با ترجمه ی عالی.
اولین اثری بود که از بوکوفسکی میخوندم,صراحت لحن سادگی در عین حال جذابیت و کشش کلامش رو دوست داشتم..شاید بعضی جا ها بیش از حد صریح بود در کل اما تجربه لذت بخشی بود..ترجمه این سبک نوشتن بسیار سخته اما مترجم کتاب کارش رو عالی انجام داده بود و تسلطش به تکست اصلی بسیار خوب بود,تقریبا هیچ جای کتاب نارسایی حاصل از ترجمه نداشت..
در کل از کتاب هزار پیشه لذت بردم,بوکوفسکی فیورت من نیست اما قطعا باقی اثارش رو میخونم
Profile Image for Cody.
77 reviews18 followers
July 19, 2007
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.
Profile Image for robin friedman.
1,815 reviews241 followers
September 2, 2023

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was an underground writer of poems stories, and novels who has exerted a fascination over me for many years. He is best known for his portrayals of the shabby, dingy side of Los Angeles. His reputation has grown subsequently to his death. Many of his works originally were published by a small publishing house, Black Sparrow Press which specialized in unusual writers, A few years ago, Black Sparrow was purchased by HarperCollins which continues to maintain Bukowski's works in print and to publish posthumous works.

This reprint of "Factotum" was released by HarperCollins this month to capitalize on the movie version of Factotum. I read it eagerly in anticipation of seeing the movie, which premiered at independent film festivals before its commercial release. Earlier Bukowski movies include "Barfly" (1987) and the documentary "Bukowski: Born into This" (2004).

Factotum (1975)is Bukowski's second novel, and its main character is Bukowski's alter ego, named Henry Chinaski. The word 'factotum" means "A person having many diverse activities or responsibilities" or "a general servant". These definitions, particularly the second, capture much of the spirit of the novel. Chinaski is a young man, down and out, who has been rejected for the draft during WW II. In short, fast-moving chapters, the novel chronicles Chinaski's search for work crossing back and forth throughout the United States.

The novel is gritty, raw and tough. Chinaski is hardly a hero as he loses one dead-end job after another and throws away the few possible opportunities that come his way. Chinaski is solitary and anti-social. He drinks heavily and plays the horses. He takes up with women and generally drops them as quickly as he meets them. He leads the life of a drifter, loner, and outsider.

Without prelude or introduction, the book opens as Chinaski arrives "in New Orleans in the rain at 5"o'clock in the morning" and is quickly accosted by "a high yellow sitting on the porch steps swinging her legs". He goes through a series of jobs and shabby hotels before embarking on a journey that takes him to Texas, Los Angeles, his hometown, New York City, Philadelphia, St Louis and, finally back to Los Angeles. At the end, we see Chinaski, frustrated and angry fantasizing over a dancer in a burlesque house.

Chinaski loses a litany of jobs, including working as a janitor, window washer, shipping clerk, baker's helper, assistant in a dog buscuit factory, and similar ventures. He either quits, or, more often, is fired for absenteeism, attitude, fighting, and drinking. He has affairs with a variety of women, the most prominent of whom in this book is Jan, with whom he has an on again off again relationship punctuated by alcohol, horseracing, fighting, and Jan's affairs with other men.

Chinaski is an aspiring writer, when he is not drinking or otherwise occupied, and the book includes a scene in which a short story is accepted for publication. Writing and reflection are used, as is so often the case, as a way to understand and distance oneself from a shabby, difficult life. There are many lively, funny scenes in Factotum. Chinaski does not ask for sympathy and gives none. The story is toughly and unapologetically told. The book gives the impression of an individual deeply down on himself and on others who sees himself as fighting and carrying on simply to live his life for what it is.

Bukowski is a vulgar, raw author who will not appeal to everyone. But I continue to be taken with him and with Factotum. The book exerts a pull that I can't shake off.

Robin Friedman
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