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Women

Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.
With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.
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324 printed pages
Modern Fiction

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The greatest men are the most alone.”
Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.
“Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.”
—HENRY CHINASKI
No luck. “The greatest men are the most alone.”
Still, I thought of marriage. I thought of a house, a dog and a cat, of shopping in supermarkets. Henry Chinaski was losing his balls. And didn’t care.
The first fight was a good one, lots of blood and courage. There was something to be learned about writing from watching boxing matches or going to the racetrack. The message wasn't clear but it helped me. That was the important part: the message wasn't clear. It was wordless, like a house burning, or an earthquake or a flood, or a woman getting out of a car, showing her legs. I didn't know what other writers needed; I didn't care,
“I never pump up my vulgarity. I wait for it to arrive on its own terms.”
between us. Then the doorbell rang. Lydia got up. A fat woman stood there with frantic, pleading eyes.
“This is my sister, Glendoline.”
“Hi.”
Glendoline pulled up a chair and started talking. She could talk. If she was a sphinx she could have talked, if she was a stone she could have talked. I wondered when she’d get tired and leave. Even after I stopped listening it was like being battered with tiny pingpong balls. Glendoline had no concept of time or any idea that she might be intruding. She talked on and on.
“Listen,” I said finally, “when are you going to leave?”
I put on a shirt and some pants and opened the door. Then I ran to the bathroom and vomited. I tried to brush my teeth but only vomited again—the sweetness of the toothpaste turned my stomach. I came out.
But now I wasn’t interested in what was good for me. I was interested in how I felt and how to stop feeling bad when things went wrong.
I told her that Knut Hamsun had been the world's greatest writer.
I could feel vibrations running between us
I was 50 years old and hadn’t been to bed with a woman for four years. I had no women friends. I looked at them as I passed them on the streets or wherever I saw them, but I looked at them without yearning and with a sense of futility. I masturbated regularly, but the idea of having a relationship with a woman—even on non-sexual terms—was beyond my imagination. I had a 6 year old daughter born out of wedlock. She lived with her mother and I paid child support. I had been married years before at the age of 35. That marriage lasted two and one half years. My wife divorced me. I had been in love only once. She had died of acute alcoholism. She died at 48 when I was 38. My wife had been 12 years younger than I. I believe that she too is dead now, although I’m not sure. She wrote me a long letter each Christmas for 6 years after the divorce. I never responded….
time in a madhouse. After a while
Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire… Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It's real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you've suddenly become an idiot. There's no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.
They were very anti-beer.
I had a dream about you. I opened your chest like a cabinet, it had doors, and when I opened the doors I saw all kinds of soft things inside you-teddy bears, tiny fuzzy animals, all these soft, cuddly things. Then I had a dream about this other man. He walked up to me and handed me some pieces of paper. He was a writer. I took the pieces of paper and looked at them. And the pieces of paper had cancer. His writing had cancer. I go by my dreams. You deserve some love.
Then this blonde, about 19, with rimless glasses and a smile walked up. The smile never left. "I want to fuck you," she said. "It's your face." "What about my face?" "It's magnificent. I want to destroy your face with my cunt." "It might be the other way around." "Don't bet on it." "You're right. Cunts are indestructible."
If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.
Look," I said, "I know your tragedy."
"What?"
"I know your tragedy."
"What do you mean?"
"Listen," I said, "just forget it."
"I want to know."
"I don't want to hurt your feelings."
"I want to know what the hell you're talking about."
"O.K., if you give me another drink I'll tell you."
"All right." Lydia took my empty glass and gave me half-whiskey, half-water. I drank it down again.
"Well?" she asked.
"Hell, you know."
"Know what?"
"You've got a big pussy."

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