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Post Office: A Novel Paperback – February 27, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 409 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An amazing, hilarious and unfalteringly entertaining account of a man trapped in a kind of Catch 23" Sunday Times "Takes you by the shoulders and shakes you until your teeth rattle" The Times "Cunningly, relentlessly jokey and sad" Observer "One of the funniest books ever written" Uncut "Amazing, hilarious and unfalteringly entertaining" Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061177571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061177576
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (409 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on April 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
This is the one, the book that launched Bukowski beyond small press cultdom, the book that launched Black Sparrow past its humble position in the publishing world, and its the book that to this day still initiates readers into the wild, wild realm of Henry Chinaski. This is the first Buk book I ever read, and remains my all time favorite. Is it his best book? No, my vote would go to HAM ON RYE for that, but it is, in my opinion, his wildest and most fun read of all! Along with CATCHER IN THE RYE, CATCH 22, and SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, POST OFFICE should be regarded, and taught, as a CLASSIC American comic masterpiece! Kudos to any high school lit teacher or college prof with the balls to make this book required reading. If you've never read Bukowski, this is the place to start. If you've read all of Bukowski, and there are many of you out there, read this one again...just for the hell of it. Why not?
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Format: Paperback
Novels like this are rare, and writers like Charles Bukowski are one in a million. The word "authentic" comes to mind; his writing conveys a raw honesty and much needed non-mainstream point-of-view. Bukowski is the voice of dissent, the marginally employed, creatively frustrated working joe. Like the bird in the cage, his spirit is trapped in a world steeped in bureaucracy and bullsh*t.

Post Office covers Bukowski's 12 years as a postal employee and it follows his difficult working life, which echoes the working life and frustrations of millions. I can't help but think of David Henry Thoreau's famous quote (which applies to Bukowski): "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

Bukowski, in fact, preaches a certain kind of civil disobedience.

We're all raised to want the same things: family, material possesions, a house, "respectable" jobs. I think now more than ever, we need Bukowski, we need to challenge the status quo and not buy into a shallow culture of materialism at the cost of trading our souls.

I recommend "Post Office" highly, also his poetry, particularly "You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense" and "The Last Night Of The Earth Poems." In addition, I recommend "A Working Stiff's Manifesto : A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember"
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If you haven't discovered this gem of an author yet (that would be a crime) i urge you not to start with this book.
Surely there's loads of great moments to be found in "Post office" but the story does wander here and there much too often, and the focus is lost making the book seem like the incoherent (but definitely entertaining) narration from someone at a bar while tossing back drinks.
Because this is "bukowskian" it's so entertaining that it will keep you reading (and grinning) despite its flaws, but I'd reccomend you to start rather from "Ham on Rye" (a masterpiece of humor and cynical social critique) or "Tales of everyday madness".
If you're already a fan this review is useless since you're more than likely reading everything by Bukowski anyway.
Approach with caution...
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I have read every one of Bukowski's published novels, all of his short stories that I've found, and most of his poetry. And although he's best known for his poetry, it remains his prose that floors me.

How did he do it? It's all so simple he makes it seem easy. This happens, then this happens, that that happens, the end. But no one's been able to ape that style of his effectively. No one. It only seems easy. In fact, that simplicity belies the workings of a brilliant author.

To me, POST OFFICE remains his best work. As I work for the USPS, I can say with some authority that nothing much has changed since his days there. It remains a static institution in the way labor interacts with management. As I am also a writer and published author, I can also state with some authority that Bukowski was, and remains, one of the best writers this nation has produced in a very long time. He always thought of himself as the inheritor of Hemingway. And I agree with that.
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