Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On my list of things to read...

A review by Michael J. Mazza:

'Charles Bukowski's novel "Post Office" is the first-person account of Henry Chinaski, a hard-drinking gambler and womanizer who goes to work for the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles. The story follows his experiences at the post office, weaving them together with his accounts of romantic affairs, sexual encounters, drinking, and gambling. Chinaski's life is full of encounters with various unsavory, tragic, or ridiculous characters.

"Post Office" is the ultimate "I hate this job" story. It's also an intriguing, and highly unflattering look at a quintessential American institution. Bukowski's prose style is crude, rude, and raw; often very funny, sometimes shocking, and sometimes poignant. But always highly readable. Bukowski effectively evokes a vision of a mind-numbing, soul-killing workplace that is ruled by a petty bureaucracy.

On one level, "Post Office" seems to have much in common with a classic "social protest" novel like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," which also portrays the suffering and degradation experienced by the working person. But ultimately, "Post Office" seems like another species of novel altogether. Bukowski tells his story in a matter-of-fact style; he doesn't seem to care about offending or impressing anyone, and seems to offer no social agenda. He just tells it like it is. A fascinating book by an author who, I increasingly believe, is truly in a class all his own.'

No comments: