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Hot Water Music

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  12,066 ratings  ·  434 reviews
With his characteristic raw and minimalist style, Charles Bukowski takes us on a walk through his side of town in Hot Water Music. He gives us little vignettes of depravity and lasciviousness, bite sized pieces of what is both beautiful and grotesque.

The stories in Hot Water Music dash around the worst parts of town – a motel room stinking of sick, a decrepit apartment
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 1st 1900 by Ecco
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Diederick van Wijk It does! However, Hot Water Music is a bundle of short stories - so some of the stories features Hank, others don't.…moreIt does! However, Hot Water Music is a bundle of short stories - so some of the stories features Hank, others don't. (less)

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 ·  12,066 ratings  ·  434 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had been reading Chekhov’s major plays—now doesn't that sound elegant and literary?—and thought I needed something inelegant and unliterary to follow it up, and found something on audiobooks I hadn’t read before, from Charles Bukowski, a collection of stories, and it is obvious at a glance that the two writers are very different—what do we know about Buk? Wine, women, horseracing, boxing, brutality, usually funny, often obscene, stripped-down prose that is decidedly unpretentious—but I have to ...more
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I am quite the fan of Bukowski. I enjoyed Factotum, Pulp, and Post Office in particular, and I think Ham On Rye is a work of art. Perhaps the only real catch to Bukowski's work is that he is something of a one trick pony. Don't get me wrong, though. It's still a good trick.

Where Bukowski fails in his writing (when he fails at all) is when he allows his nihilism to devolve into creative redundancy. He doesn't have very many points to make, and sometimes he tends to make them in the same way.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
More stories, some of the Best Buk stories they is :) Hate everything? Think the world is some sick place where everything we value is falsely raised to be somehow important when it all actually means shit? This is the book for you. Bukowski got it, and he also managed to write some crazy shit about it and lucky for you it can be find just in these pages. Crack her open, and instead of being angry that he's such a douchebag, be furious that you're not.
David Fleming
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the first thing I read of Bukowski's and his terse style seemed to me like a breath of fresh air. It's as if he copied Hemingway's style and then mimicked it to the point of caricature. And yet somehow I'm still saying that's a good thing.

I believe he took the potentiality of Hemingway's style and magnified it's unpleasantness in a manner similar to how Seth McFarlane exaggerated Matt Groening. Okay, maybe that analogy was pushing it but I love the way no thought or idea is too
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grinned through the first few chapters, chuckled through the next few, then laughed my ass off for the remaining few. CB is a new revelation for me, I think I can understand his perpetual depravity. Maybe depravity is too strong a word. Let's go with misogynist, no, because he also loved thousands of women, for a night or two anyway. I'll have to think of the word, if there is one....@ 6am - Beer & Coffee @ 9am - More beer and a few shots of whiskey @ Noon - Even more beer, a few more ...more
May 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: assholes
Shelves: readforpleasure
By far, my favorite work by Bukowski. This collection of short stories is both beautiful and grotesque. He is such an ass, and he talks about such base and vile acts... yet I love it! I could not put it down; I simply had to find out what fucked up thing was going to happen next. I think that the beauty of Bukowski is that he turns shit into flowers. An act that you would never consider to be pleasing is suddenly shown in a more light. Taking a shit. Killing your wife. These things are such ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The key to understanding what makes Bukowski (in my opinion at least) one of the greatest writers that ever lived lies in this very book, in an often-repeated quote which reads:

'Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way'

The best art (again in my opinion at least) can evoke a certain time and a place so vividly that though you may not even have experienced it, you still live it, clearly visualise it, breathe it. For instance, there is a downtempo electronic music band
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: insomniacs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Brakefield
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jesse by: Tony Cooper
This was the first Bukowski I ever read. It was a serious eye-opener. Naive of me I know, but in a way I didn't think people could write stuff like this, publish stuff like this. It's easy enough to get hung on the more lascivious aspects, the drinking and the sex and the violence, but what really set him apart was his honesty, and his lack of fear in expressing things about himself that are unpalatable, unflattering, and the way he makes me laugh with him, at him. It taught me how to really ...more
Sarah Booth
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
This is the first Bukowski book I’ve listened to instead of read. It was a collection of short stories mostly about men and women or men down on their luck, Bukowski’s two main reoccurring themes. Even though the narrator wasn’t bad at all and worked at having Bukowski’s voice it just didn’t match what was in my head when I read him. I think I am more fond of his novels and poetry (or poesies as he likes to call poems) than his short stories.
Ryan Werner
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Three dozen tales of drinking and nihilistic tendencies show Bukowski at a literary high and the inhabitants of the world at a moralistic low.

German-born American author Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) had, at the time of 1983’s short story collection Hot Water Music (Ecco, ISBN:0876855966), made a career on taking his life-experiences and turning them into self-proclaimed “tales of ordinary madness.” With Hot Water Music, he uses breaks no new ground in his literary career, instead putting out
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
My only prior exposure to Bukowski was Post Office and his enormous hipster rep. The former was a genuinely good read and seemed to justify the latter, or at least added weight to what otherwise seemed the tale of a lucky dirtbag who suffered from the occasional bout of insight.

However, these lusterless vignettes just sit on the page like the inert efforts of a lazy undergrad. Boasting atrocious dialogue and distracted endings, pretty much each story features a tough-guy character transparently
Miguel Pais
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something extremely appealing in Bukowski's raw minimalism. There's no need for more essence than that of the concise short stories that somehow seem to intertwine both in style and in content. A book I thoroughly recommend.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Sex, alcohol, poetry, gambling. Standard Bukowski, though he was anything but standard. Hot Water Music is a crude underbelly journey of 30+ debauched vignettes. I was very pleased to see Henry Chinaski again. If you’ve never read Bukowski, probably don’t start here. If you’re easily offended, probably don’t read Bukowski. I don’t love everything I’ve read by him, but I appreciate his boldness and straightforward writing.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a good collection of short stories, all of which were very quick reads, so it felt like I made nice progress.

As for the stories themselves, they were vintage Bukowski, primarily focused on sex, booze, violence, and desperately dirty people. What really struck me while I was reading this collection is that Bukowski is, in a way, the evolution of literary naturalism. He focuses on down-and-out subjects, without skimping on the graphic detail, and he explores a world consisting of these
Tyler Koslow
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bukowski's collection of short stories address the destructive and lonely nature of human existence. This is usually made by most writers in an extravagant, fiction-like manner, but Charles Bukowski brings destruction into his work through the normal, everyday dirty work that portrays the dark side to human achievement and society. His collection helped me realize that my ideal, no matter how surreal, can still be found in everyday observations on human life. This type of realism that he uses ...more
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
bukowski is a good writer, I like his style of vignettes, his raunchy straight forward prose and ridiculous dark characters. but he's such a sexist its distracts from the moral of his pieces. I can't forgive him because of when he grew up or because he does it for the shock and awe. his stories continues and validates a very destructive and abusive attitude towards women. that's never okay, even if its "art".
Pedro António Carvalho
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pedro by: Die Carvalho

EN -
"-Everything is boring. There's no escaping it. Did you know what some old hobos used to tattoo on their arms? «BORN TO DIE.» As cheesy as it may look, it's pure common sense."
This book is SAVAGE!
It's built as a collection of short stories about several episodes of miserable writers or poets (One of them is Bukowski's alter-ego Henry Chinaski) that appear various times in each different story, but due to the nature and thematic of the book, this feels almost like a series of
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just like every Charles Bukowski short story collection, they are hit or miss. The hits make up for the misses, the times when his writing is on point; you'll find everything you love about him in those stories. The misses are so bad, that even though they're generally quite short, I found myself skipping over the especially bad ones. Bukowski really shines in writing novels where everything is more focused, I'd highly recommend those if you're new to him.
John M.

I've read a number of Bukowski's other books, and Hot Water Music just didn't appeal to me like the others. It's a collection of short stories that essentially repeat the same formula over and over again. In fact, a lot of these stories could be inserted as chapters in Women, which in my opinion is the weakest of the Bukowski novels.

Even though it's just over 200 pages long, it was a tedious read, aside from a small handful of stories. If you're new to Bukowski, read Ham on Rye or Post Office,
Megan Rowe
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Buk, and because of this, I did enjoy some aspects of this collection. I think it's reductive and pointless to talk about whether his work is sexist (though I will say this...he allows his female characters to do some interesting things because he didn't care whether readers found him sexist) or autobiographical and therefore mislabeled, and, far more damning, unimaginative and just stuck. People always talk about these things with regards to Buk and what I would like to do is ...more
Ive heard so much about Bukowski, people talk about him, love his work, etc.

So I finally picked up a copy of Hot Water Music to take with me while traveling.

I hated it. It was easy to get through and, admittedly, there were moments of brilliant succint-ness (spelled right? a real word?) where things were summed up neatly, wrapped up perfectly, in only a few small words...I liked that. That takes brains, thinking, restraint.

But really, how many stories about losers can one take? Lets not glorify
Emalie Soderback
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An explicitly brutal portrayal of human relationships, addiction, sexual ache and emotional carnage this book repulsed and attracted me in a way that only Bukowski can. It fueled many conversations of how writers put themselves into their work on different levels, leading to several questions revolving around the one bit in the book where a man swiftly asks for a match and then slits a stranger’s throat all in a few minutes and without a second thought. Why was this man a genius. I don’t know.

Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
In comparison to South of No North, which I finished a few days ago, his other short story collections that I have read, and his novels, I didn't enjoy this collection quite as much.

You know what you're going to get with Bukowski, and while we have a little less Chinaski in this collection, there are characters with very similar characteristics, doing very similar things. At the same time, some of the stories were just a little fantastical, and a couple were just a little too close to the bone
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alienation
HOT WATER MUSIC is the third collection of Bukowski short stories I've read this year. Its more of the same old stuff - lots of hard drinking lazy men who get lucky with beautiful women all of whom are voluptuous. But there is some melancholy and bad luck lurking around the corner. However, there wasn't enough social commentary in this collection of stories. Bukowski does tear into Mailer and Camus. But Bukowski's unique insights into modern life and human nature are few and far between. I felt ...more
Mar 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Aspiring misanthropes
I picked up this book on a whim at a Barnes and Noble in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The first couple of stories seemed pretty edgy, but nothing over-the-top. The further I got, the more depraved the stories became--and yet, like a child peeking through his fingers during the gory parts of a horror movie, I was fascinated by these horrible, disgusting characters and the unspeakable acts some of them committed. Admittedly, this book is not for those with delicate sensibilities, but if you've got a ...more
Kelly Mac
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
i pride myself on having a stomach made of steel (canned pineapple chunks make my tongue retract and stomach seize, however), but this book made me gag. the man creates a narrator with an affinity for picking at his own hemorrhoids for goodness sake! when bukowski gets good and grotesque, your eyes will widen to a painful degree and you may miss your bus stop but the man's got one helluva way with the brutal honesty of getting old. this is what you have to look forward to, aging into an oozing ...more
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: buk fans, natch!
Shelves: jazznbeats
Thrilling collection of Bukowski short stories: lots of sex, booze and gambling, yeah!
"Home Run" is about the beating of a cocky bartender, "Broken Merchandise" is a brilliant account of road rage, "The Man Who Loved Elevators" is like a Todd Solondz movie about an apartment house sex maniac, and "900 Pounds" is about a fat guy in a bathing suit about to kill you. Other stories are nothing more than drunken phone calls, but the dialogue is very, very funny. This one never disappoints!
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I had a Chuck Bukowski kick back in 2004. I moved out of my father's house the year prior, inadvertently isolated myself from most of my friends, got a soul-draining job in retail, and fallen into a bit of depression (which hardly anyone noticed). Though I hardly remember what I read, it spoke to me because I was in a toxic environment and Bukowski wrote with an honest intensity that was lacking in my life at the time.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This took me a long time to read 2-3 stories at a time. Is a lot of similarity in the loser meets loser, they get drunk and hook up.

The story about the terrible poet who loved his voice was my favorite.
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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
“Life's as kind as you let it be.” 1349 likes
“What is your advice to young writers?”
“Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes.”
More quotes…