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Factotum tie-in Paperback – August 15, 2006
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About the Author
Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of two. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for over fifty years. He died in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.
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Top Customer Reviews
I found "Factotum" to be episodic and to lack the focus and impact of Bukowski's excellent novel "Post Office," also featuring Chinaski. But "Factotum" is still a good read with some really stunning passages. Bukowski seems to be deromanticizing the "myth of the starving artist," which he calls a "hoax," in this book. I only wish that "Factotum" featured more about Chinaski's vocation as a writer; I found the parts of the book that focused on his identity as a writer to be the most interesting parts.
"Factotum" is particularly interesting in its context as a novel of the World War II era which deals with the U.S. homefront, but in an entirely unromantic and detached way. Bukowski's prose is often quite vivid; one encounter with a rather scary prostitute is a particular gem of Bukowski's raw, in-your-face style. Overall, a solid work by one of America's most distinctive writers.
This said, the three novels of Bukowski's trilogy (Factotum, Post Office, Women) are his best novels and factotum is the best of the three. Women was written and published in the late 1970s when Bukowski or his alter ego Henry Chinaski was already an establihsed professional writer. Post Office covers the years in which he Bukowski had a sort of regular job and regular life.
Factotum is the story of the young Bukowski, the Bukowski that was rolling from a job to another, from a town to another, from a woman to another, in an impressive collections of failures--failed jobs, failed relationships, failed everything all told with a considerable amount of irony.
It's a very interesting read, to say the least. Five stars.
This book is composed of a series of short passages, 87 total. This book is mostly about Henry Chinaski (meaning, for the most part, Charles Bukowski) drinking, having sex with women who drink, and moving from job to job. I dont know how many jobs Chinaski has in this book, but he often holds them only long enough for a single one-page section.
If there is any unity in terms of story and plot in this book, it is found in the women, such as Jan and Laura, who manage to stay in Chinaski's life for a few jobs; the women serve to string together the sections.
More significant than any plot are the various interwoven themes that Bukowski deals with, such as futility, solitary existence, and death (all themes that might lead us to link Bukowski with existentialist philosophy). These ideas (among others) are all related, and also related to the ways in which they are expressed, namely, through alcohol, cheap sex, disgust towards humanity, and peacefulness in the strangest situations-- and of course, Henry Chinaski's inability to hold a job or even have any desire to do so. On one hand, this book is a quick and light read; on the other hand, a close read that keeps in mind the interplay between the different themes involved truly exposes the genius of Bukowski.
Overall, this is a book that for the most part ends where it begins (it begins with Chinaki arriving in New Orleans and "looking for the poor section" and ends in a go-go bar, with Chinaski holding his last 38 cents), but this circularity, i find, is intimate to the theme of futility: why go anywhere? why do anything?Read more ›
Its a quick read that includes many of the offbeat and unique observations that this guy makes about the world. You'll laugh every page.
Be careful, though. Reading Bukowski can completely change the way you look at things. The day after reading this book you'll have a little less regard for the little things that usually bother people, and a little more confidence in yourself.
A lot, perhaps too much, has been said about Bukowski and his work. While I truly enjoy his short stories the most, Factotum, along with post Office, are among my favorite books written by American authors. Bukowski's writing is simple and straight-to-the-point, and Factotum is no exception. Filled with short, sometimes paragraph-like chapters, the writing flows smoothly, gently sneaking under your skin, and before you know it you start to care and you start to see the world through Chinaski's eyes. A world, which, for the most part, has not improved over the past sixty years. Perhaps his truths are universal. One thing hit me in particular: Chinaski goes to the American Cancer Society, only to be given an appointment three weeks later. He mentions that all his life he has been told to catch cancer early, but when it comes to it, he is told to wait three weeks. Last year I went through pretty much the same thing, only to have to wait for an appointment for over four months. Fortunately, it was not cancer, but if it was...what is the point.
Anyway, back to Factotum. Chinaski, being a "4-F" as he states, was exempt from the draft which left him behind, free to look for a job and settle down. Only the restless soul is incapable of settling down. A struggling writer, (writing several short stories by hand each week, which shows great inspiration and capability) he does not have much else to live for. Submerged in booze, smoking, and having sex, he kills time between odd jobs, while waiting to be discovered. However, this is not the point of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Somehow I had never heard of bukowski and, when one of my FB friends had put a notice that they finished it, I thought it was a mystery book. Nope! Read morePublished 12 days ago by Patrick M Connell
My third Bukowski book after Post Office and Ham on Rye. Entertaining read. It's what I've come to expect from Bukowski - funny, gritty, raunchy, and depressing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chucstone
Have to admit that I saw the movie before I read the book , but Charles Bukowski never disappoints. If you're on a plane you can read it in one sitting.Published 4 months ago by Larry Scarano
Charles Bukowski has become one of my favorite authors, but so far, this is my least favorite book by far that he has written. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tom Bruce
Its a fun romp with some unnecessary soft porn flashes, though probably for realism acceptable.
Nothing too demanding in plot. Read more
This book has it all ,the characters are so real that you think you might have met them before . The book makes you laugh out loud on many occasions I recommend this book to anyone... Read morePublished 5 months ago by PAUL
Charles bukowski's alter ego is always fun to read about. I love the gritty writing style that pulls no punchesPublished 8 months ago by Monett Cummings