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Ham on Rye

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  70,206 ratings  ·  2,846 reviews
Follows the path of the author's alter-ego Henry Chinaski through the high school years of acne and rejection and into the beginning of a long and successful career in alcoholism. This novel begins against the backdrop of an America devastated by the Depression and takes the Chinaski legend up to the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
Paperback, 318 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Canongate Books (first published September 1982)
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Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So what is a middle-class old woman who seldom drinks and never fights doing reading this book?

Enjoying the hell out of it.
Glenn Russell
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was sixteen, tan, blonde and good looking, catching waves on my yellow surfboard along with all the other surfers, handsome guys and beautiful gals, each and every day that summer. Little did I know this mini-heaven would quickly end and hell would begin in September. Why? My smooth-skinned tan face turned into an acne-filled mess. I suffered pimple by pimple for three years straight; many fat red pimples popping up every day. Oh, yeah, on my forehead, temples, cheeks, jaw, chin and nose. Unli
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
Δυο βράδια κράτησε αυτό το ταξίδι και είχα την πεποίθηση πως συζητώ αλλά περισσότερο ακούω με απόλυτο σεβασμό για τη ζωή ενός μοναχικού μου φίλου.

Τρομερή αμεσότητα και φοβερό ταλέντο προσήλωσης προς τον αποδέκτη των λόγων του.
Ακόμη κι αν δεν έχεις σκεφτεί ποτε τη δική του εκδοχή, την απαράλλαχτη γνώμη του ή την κοσμοθεωρία του σε σχέση με την ύπαρξη και την εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου είδους στα σίγουρα θα πειστείς πως ο δικός του οίστρος προς την ματαιότητα ειναι τελικά ο πραγματικός.

Λυπήθηκα του
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the outsiders

Up until recently, all I knew about Charles Bukowski was what I learned in one of my all time favorite films, ‘Barfly,’ staring the incomparable Mickey Rourke as our antihero Henry Chinaski. If you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that immediately:

This is a world where everybodys gotta do something, gotta be something... sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do.. that I don't wanna be


Henry Chinaski is a bit of a
Elyse Walters
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: $1.99 Kindle special today --- Its not for everyone -- but I thought it was fantastic! -- I own it -- and couldn't pull away from it the first time I read it. I'd suggest reading high and low reviews. Then trust your gut! Its 'based' on a true story --but written as a novel.

"I had begun to dislike my father. He was always angry about something.
Wherever we went he got into arguments with people. But he didn't appear to frighten most people; they just stared at him, calmly, and he became
Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: truth seekers
It is true that Ham on Rye lacks a serious plot. It is also true that Mr. Bukowski writes in a crude, whiskey soaked style. However, the novel makes up for its deficiencies with a well-honed theme on the bullshit realities of middle-class existence and the ugly truth of how our society deals with those who reject that path. Such a novel should necessarily cause the reader to taste a tinge of bile in his or her throat. If you don't finish the book weary and angry, then you missed the point. As to ...more
Ham on Rye is flanked by sauces of happenstance and its delectability depends on the preferences of one’s reading tongue. Mine, for one, could not bear its sour, unsavoury ingredients.

In this bildungsroman, which is semi-autobiographical too, the protagonist, Henry Chinaski loads his bag of dilemma and expletives, and throws its weight around with nonchalance and non-disruptive disdain. The backdrop of the Great Depression, fuels the negative sentiments and Chinaski finds its shackles, throughou
Arthur Graham
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The first thing I remember is being under something."

So begins this chronicle of the dirty old man's humble beginnings, his formative years, and the myriad oppressions he endured throughout his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. In the most literal sense, this opening line represents baby Hank's first concrete memory, but it also sets the tone for the entire memoir to come. Dedicated to "all the fathers," Ham on Rye is both an indictment of and a tribute to every boss, bully, teacher
It all started in 7th grade with these stupid clubs they made us join. Some kind of “get involved” self esteem horseshit. Every other Friday was club day. An hour before school let out everyone had to pick a club to go to. They gave us a list. I left mine blank, so they put me in the Sports Cards Collecting Club. Better than the Baking Club, I guess. My friend Joe, whose dad was president of the Charles County fire department, didn’t leave his blank. He actually chose the Sports Card Collecting ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like this kid is someone that I've known well, not just read a book about him.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.”

― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye


Reading Charles Bukowski in public is a rather curious thing. Every once in a while, you come across some line or paragraph that is suffused with such a potent strand of open misanthropy it makes you chuckle. You thin
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-lit
My life did not resemble Henry Chinaski's. No abusive father here. No ritualized beatings. No helpless mother. No culture of fighting. One lost fight was enough to teach me the purposelessness of all that. I liked school. Not that I go to the reunions. Sure there was the pimply phase, but nothing like the scourge of boils that rendered Henry a monster.

And yet...and yet...

Something rang so true reading this book. The sense of alienation. The understanding of the absurdity of it all. The rejection
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Holy shit!

This is the story of Henry Chenaski, Charles Bukowski’s alter ego, who had a helluva depressing childhood in large part due to a father who was a real son of a bitch and whom I blame for Henry’s later love of the bottle, to a lesser extent due to the Depression that hit the States, and Los Angeles, when Henry grew up.

My heart bled for young Henry; like when his father forced him to mow the lawn when all the other kids on the street were out playing. When Henry was done, his father put
ميقات الراجحي
موجع هذا النص تعاطفت مع هنري (صاحبنا بوكوفسكي) وكذلك مع والدة هنري وهي تعاني من سوء تصرف والدها وبدأت أعي حجم المعاناة التي ولد وسطها هذا البوكوفسكي وسط إنـهيار والده تجاريًا في ألمانيا بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى وإستقرارهم في لوس أنجلوس وكيف أثر والده عليه بتصرفه تجاه والدته وبداية المخزون اللغوي القذر الذي سجله في سيرته الروائية في كل أعماله لمعاناة والده بسبب عدم وجود عمل يعينه. هذا غير كمية سوء المعاملة من إهانة وضرب تلقتها الأم والأبناء معًا.

في هذا الجزء يعود بوكوفسكي أو نقل بطل النص "هنري ت
نعیمه بخشی
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
عجیب نیست که آدم از شرح فلاکتهای کسی لذت ببرد؟ شاید نه. اگر این شرح را چارلز بوکوفسکی نوشته باشد. و در خوانش شرح بدبختیهای هنری چیناکسی حتا آدم خندهاش میگیرد، میخندد. البته اگر همه این اتفاقات در دنیای واقعیِ بوکوفسکی اتفاق افتاده باشند، چیزی شبیه کابوس است اما خواندن بیخیالی شخصیتی که خلق کرده، دیالوگهای بامزهاش و فضایی که در کل رمان ایجاد میکند به یک جور طنز سیاه شبیه میشود. هنری چیناسکی مرام و مسلک خودش را دارد، هیچکس جذبش نمیشود و در مقابل هیچچیزی در دنیا برایش جذاب نیست. همیشه در فکر انتقام ...more
Eirini Proikaki
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ο Χένρι Τσινάσκι μεγαλώνει σε ένα δύσκολο περιβάλλον,σε μια φτωχή οικογένεια με έναν πατέρα που συχνά ξεσπάει πάνω του και μια μητέρα αδιάφορη.Στο σχολείο τα πράγματα δεν είναι καλύτερα,δεν έχει φίλους,δεν μπορεί και δεν θέλει να προσαρμοστεί,συχνά μπλέκει σε καυγάδες και ,σαν κερασάκι στην τούρτα,στην εφηβεία αποκτάει μεγάλο πρόβλημα ακμής που σχεδόν τον παραμορφώνει.
Ποιος μπορεί να τον κατηγορήσει που είναι τόσο κυνικός;
Βρίσκει καταφύγιο στο ποτό και στα βιβλία:«Ήταν απόλαυση! Οι λέξεις δεν ήτ
Edward Lorn
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men, and women who want to understand why men act the way they do
Masculinity is hilarious. Men are expected to kick ass and fuck anything that moves, as long as your peers approve of those whose asses are to be kicked, or that the housing for the orifice you seek to penetrate meets their requirements. In other words, dudes are fucking stupid. We covet the approval of other dudes when other dudes do little to nothing for us.

"GET ALL THE PUSSY!" is their battle song. But make sure the girl is sexy enough so that your buddies don't rag you over fucking some tro
Sweet Jane
"Πόλεμος. Εδώ ήμουν παρθένος. Μπορείς να φανταστείς τα μυαλά σου τιναγμένα στον αέρα για χάρη της ιστορίας, πριν ακόμα γνωρίσεις τι πράγμα είναι η γυναίκα; Ή πριν αποκτήσεις ένα αυτοκίνητο; Τι έπρεπε να προστατέψω; Κάποιους άλλους. Αυτούς που δεν δίνουν δεκάρα τσακιστή για μένα. Το να πεθάνεις στον πόλεμο δεν σταματάει τους πολέμους."

Ο ποιητικός κυνισμός του θείου Charles εδώ
Jonathan Ashleigh
Charles Bukowski has led me to some amazing books, but this was not one of them. It was well told, but I personally prefer fiction. The problem with non-fiction is that, whenever you get to a part you enjoy - it doesn't last long. There were incredible parts, but then the main character grew older and all of the supporting characters changed.
"بیشتر آدمها در بیستوپنج سالگی تمام میشوند. و بعد تبدیل میشوند به ملتی بیشعور که رانندگی میکند، غذا میخورد، بچهدار میشود و هرکاری را به بدترین شکلاش انجام میدهد، مانند رای دادن به کاندیدای ریاست جمهوریای که آنها را یاد خودشان میاندازد. من دلبستگی نداشتم. به هیچچیز دلبستگی نداشتم. حتی نمیدانستم چطور باید فرار کنم. بقیه دستکم حساب کار دستشان آمده بود که چطور زندگی کنند. آنها ظاهراً چیزی را فهمیده بودند که من نفهمیده بودم. شاید چیزی در من کم بود."

Vit Babenco
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is this eminent poem by Philip Larkin: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn by fools in old-style hats and coats, who half the time were soppy-stern and half at one another's throats.”
And everything in Ham on Rye develops under this scenario…
“So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was goi
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Portrait of the Bastard as a Young Man...

My second Bukowski book. Just as I did the first time, I assumed this novel would be profane, profane for the sake of being profane. And yet here I am, again surprised.

This is a compassionate, humane story. The obscenity exists, not because Bukowski wants to shock us, but because it's simply a part of his world.

There's just so much heart here, and the storytelling is raw and masterful.
David Schaafsma
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”—Hunter Thompson

“And my own affairs were as bad, as dismal, as the day I had been born. The only difference was that now I could drink now and then, though never often enough. Drink was the only thing that kept a man from feeling forever stunned and useless. Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful
Glenn Sumi
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemp-classics
Review to come, after I pick my jaw up from off the floor. Bukowski’s rude, crude alter ego, Henry Chinaski, drunkenly but oh so convincingly knocked me out with his story of growing up poor in LA during the depression, his sadistic Dad and ineffectual mom, and lots more. I didn’t know I was getting into a fight, but I will gladly step into the ring with him again.
Ioanna ms✨
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Παιδιά σας το λέω, το βιβλίο αυτό φεύγει νερό. Είναι ημιαυτοβιογραφικό (ο πρωταγωνιστής φέρει το άλλο όνομα του ίδιου του Μπουκόβσκι, Χένρι). Το διάλεξα γιατί ο αγγλικός του τίτλος είναι λογοπαίγνιο πάνω στο όνομα του "The catcher on the rye" που το λατρεύω, ε είπα έστω σε θεματολογία θα μοιάζουν. Και δεν απογοητεύτηκα. Είναι και αυτό coming of age, όμως παρακολουθούμε τον Χένρι απο παιδάκι μέχρι τα 20 του χρόνια. Είναι βιβλίο τόσο ευαίσθητο και σκληρό ταυτόχρονα, πραγματικά μου προκάλεσε πολλα ...more
Henry Martin
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread for me, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Nevertheless, Bukowski never bores, no matter how many times I read his stories.

Ham on Rye is a quintessential tale of an angry young man. What sets this one apart is the fact that he has a plenty to be angry about. Bukowski's writing is always a breath of fresh air amid pretentious novels dealing with a similar subject. What sets him apart is hard to classify. His language is plain, his grammar sparse but perfect, and there is
Franco  Santos
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novela autobiográfica de Bukowski. Cruda, cruel, con un lenguaje vulgar y directo. Es un claro reflejo de la miseria humana en la época de la Depresión y la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

El autor nos lleva por los barrios más bajos para que conozcamos qué lo arrastró a su enajenación, a su conducta antisocial y al alcoholismo. Un chico que a partir de una muy temprana edad tuvo que aprender a jugar en la vida con reglas sucias, que fue rechazado por su padre, que fue ignorado por la compasión y que tr
Wayne Barrett

I've read bits of Bukowski's poetry throughout the years but this is the first of his books that I have read... and it won't be the last. Hilarious, gritty, raunchy stuff. This book literally had me laughing out loud.
Raegan Butcher
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers. This is one of his best books. Heartbreaking and hilarious, this was written at the perfect time by the man himself--if he had been younger it wouldn't have had the wisdom that it contains---this is probably Bukowski at his finest; all of the foundations for his later life and work are laid here: his father's brutality, his mother's complacency, the cruelty of his classmates and his rejection by just about everyone once his acne erupted;these exper ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Bukowski is impossible to separate from his fans, at least for me: those driver-cap wearing kids you see in every undergraduate creative writing seminar who still think it's not just funny but somehow or other beneficial to society to be "edgy" and "politically incorrect," who wish they had mental illness so they could "tap into genius," and who feel that living the "real writer's life" involves being homeless and alcoholic. They're pretty much the "manly men" of the creative writing sphere. It' ...more
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ladies--your thoughts? 3 87 Feb 06, 2017 05:52AM  
Becker = Alter-Ego of Henry Chinaski? 5 159 Mar 05, 2016 05:27PM  
Books with direct speech for a non-native English speaker 3 57 Feb 16, 2014 12:00PM  
The Bookhouse Boys: Ham on Rye discussion 18 78 Dec 31, 2013 02:03PM  
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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
“What a weary time those years were -- to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.” 1306 likes
“I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.” 471 likes
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