Ham On Rye: A Novel Kindle Edition
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- Length: 298 pages
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Top Customer Reviews
The scene of "Ham on Rye" is Los Angeles during the Great Depression, particularly the lower middle-class homes in which Chinaski grows up, as families struggle to survive and to escape from poverty. Bukowski is at his best in describing dingy homes, streets, schools, and desperate people.
But "Ham on Rye" is a coming-of-age book told with irony and twists. It seemingly mocks the story of self-discovery and self-awakening common to these distinctively American books, but in the end I think it follows the pattern of a coming-of-age story in spite of itself. Most American coming-of-age books recount the life of a young person and end when that person comes to some crisis which he meets and, thus, attains a degree of understanding of himself which he carries through life. Bukowski's book tells the story of an unhappy childhood, as Chinaski is subjected to an overbearing father and frequent beatings. In addition, as an early adolescent, Chinaski develops a terrible case of acne which exacerbates his tendency to aloneness as well as his anger and rebeliousness.Read more ›
I disliked Henry Chinaski because, in my mind, he felt real like a lot of the characters I had loved in my favorite books, but instead of having a glowing outlook on life despite setbacks he just let it fester inside him and make him bitter, and I ended up resenting Chinaski for most of his personality (he comes off as a chauvanistic, alcoholic, bitter prick to be completely frank). That coupled with the fact that it seemed as though he was parading around how bad his childhood was because he was poor, had bad acne, etc it started to feel like a pissing contest with no one in particular in mind. But the more I thought about it and dissected him, there were portions of that personality I loved that would peek out from under the foil of a disenchanted youth, angry at the world. There's an odd sort of humanity in Chinaski, and it's very unique to this novel.
This book is also very funny, if you don't take it (or yourself) too seriously. I don't know that Bukowski meant it to be humorous in a satirical or ironic sense, but if you don't internalize the things Chinaski thinks, says, or does, and just take them at face value in context of the rest of his personality, it actually is quite funny. But be forewarned, if you are offended easily you should turn back now. I have yet to check out Bukowski's poetry, but I think I will now that I reflect on this novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not for everyone but if you like Bukowski, you shouldn't skip this one.Published 18 days ago by Alfonso Fillon
My first Bukowski read. I like his style. Easy to read. Funny and witty. He's such a grumpy little bastard though.Published 1 month ago by Gabe evenson
A fun read. He does a good job of capturing ten angst and feelings of disenfranchisement. I enjoyed watching the development of the character from childhood to adulthood, and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. Shaffner
HAM ON RYE is a slight , entertaining novel that is often funny.It is served up as a slice of autobiography but I'd take that with a huge grain of salt. Read morePublished 1 month ago by JAK
Bukowski is one hell of a story-teller. I'm going to buy the sequel (Post Office) right now!Published 1 month ago by Daniel-619