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Hot Water Music Paperback – May 31, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Black Sparrow Press; First Edition edition (May 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876855966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876855966
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Bukowsk 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 three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.


More 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 Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

Customer Reviews

Truly a significant talent.
Steven J Hoadley
This work of short stories really got me more interested in Bukowski.
Christopher J. Deasy
If she laughs, you're good to go.
K. Swanson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ah, the Drunken Master his own self...here he is at his best, writing pleasingly spare and oft hilarious vignettes of his later life's ramblings through the bars and bedrooms of Hollywood's seedier avenues.

Not recommended if you don't like to drink, laugh and/or are easily offended...Buk is as far from politically correct as Santa is from Antartica...but oh man, the laughs that his laconic delivery can produce!

His genius also lies in his occasional moments of true clarity...once in a while he flat out nails what it is to be human, male, drunk, or just a bum treading water while waiting for St. Peter's inevitable rejection.

Of the great writers in the English language, few other than Chaucer are this saucy and brazen and unabashed...and yes, I think Buk's best work can stand beside Joyce and Hem and Whitman and even the mighty Shake when it comes to revealing some of life's truths. Especially the antisocial male's truths. Bukowski keeps it simple and to the point, and has a special talent for revealing the joys of the mundane...his territory is very much his own, the hallmark of a truly classic writer.

Be forewarned, there are some verrrrry edgy moments here...but CB's willingness to confront aspects of the human (well, male--very male) psyche that others dare not go near makes him the unique freak that he is.

His poetry comes and goes, as do his novels, though Post Office and Women are classics. His short stories have the most humor and twisted pathos, and this is the best collection, methinks. "The Great Poet" alone is worth the price of admission. Buk loves to hold the idiocy of fame and our culture's shallowness up to the light...usually the barroom light...and no one else has quite his way with love scenes...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Deasy on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This work of short stories really got me more interested in Bukowski. I got started on the Buk addiction in a rather strange way - with his last novel "PULP" (which really is atypical of Charles). My second book was also a novel, "Post Office"- exquisite stuff. Anyways, these shorts are much more in-line with his Post Office days and leave you wanting to go on a bender and smash something valuable... in a good way of course. If you've never read Bukowski then this book should give you a pretty good flavor of his style (straight-from-the-(beer)-gut, unforgiving amusement for the soul).

From my perspective, you can read Bukowski 2 ways: for sheer amusement of a great story teller or as a poet-by-compulsion (or both together, as I prefer). Either way - he's good!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
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. Still, the man is a craftsman when it comes to the rough-hewn and the unflinching gaze of existentialism.

This is why I was disappointed by Hot Water Music.

Bukowski's themes (which are a lot deeper than just drunkeness, sex, ambivalence, and poverty, as some of the other reviews here seem to suggest) translate remarkably well when they are drawn out novelistically by his crisp, spare prose and his dry, gritty dialogue. In his books he takes his time teasing his message out of dark shadows and, when it is exposed to the light, he crushes its skull with a sledgehammer.

Short stories, of course, don't give him as much leisure for dilly-dallying, and as a result his work here is blunter (inasumcuh as that's possible) and duller and far more repetitive. The majority of these stories are about, of course, ambiently depressed alcoholics who haven't the motivation or energy to do anything but keep digging their own grave. You read enough stories about soused women farting and horny men with hemorrhoids and your head starts to swim. Some people might argue that these stories are meant simply to be funny, and depending on your sense of humor, they are -- but no one likes to hear the same joke told ten, twelve, or twenty times in a row.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
My shelf of Bukowski's poetry and prose is testament to the tremendous pleasure I've taken over the last twenty-five years reading his work. He's unique, and although at first he may strike you as a guilty pleasure at best, he's profound. He's also detested by some -- especially women who consider him misogynistic. Decide for yourself, but don't judge him by this book, which is about as close to hack work as he's come -- although Bukowski's hack work beats a lots of others' best. Try Women, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, or Mockingbird Wish Me Luck.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven J Hoadley on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recently saw the movie barfly and I was totally entertained and wanted to know more about the person behind the script, hence, Charles Bukowski. His writing is rapid fire and from the gut. I have a tape of his from when he gave a poetry reading and you can tell he talks like he writes. Truly a significant talent. I am now reading one Bukowski after another. Another favorite of short stories is "Tales of a dirty old man". There are some stories I have read from him that STILL have me laughing at just the thought of them, 3 months after reading them. He is the underground genius of American literature.
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