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South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life Paperback – May 31, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876851898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876851890
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) had a gift for creating evocative titles. The title of this book, "South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life" (1975) captures hauntingly the sense of loneliness, alienation, and aloneness that underlies the 27 short stories in this volume.

Bukowski began writing short stories at an early age while he supported himself doing odd jobs and through work at the Post Office. He then turned to poetry and, eventually, to writing novels at the urging of John Martin of Black Sparrow Press. Bukowski continued to write stories and columns for underground newspapers in Los Angeles. Some of the stories are included here.

As are the novels, Bukowski's stories are raw and gritty. They are filled with life in Los Angeles flophouses and cheap rooming houses. The stories feature chronic alcoholism, crude sexuality, sexual frustration, horseplaying, violence, and joblessness. They are a chronicle of the life of the down-and-outer.

Many of the stories are told in the voice of Henry Chinaski, the autobiographical character that is at the center of Bukowski's novels. But interestingly, some of the stories in this collection feature other characters and settings. The collection includes, for example a fanciful story set in the old West, "Stop Staring ... Mister", and stories with imaginative, if macabre themes, including "No way to Paradise", "Maja Thurup" and "The Devil was Hot".

The dominant impression these stories convey is one of loneliness and isolation. Whether the character is Chinaski or another individual, Bukowski writes of individuals who lack social connectedness and sense of purpose. His characters are perpetual outsiders who mock a world they cannot share and simultaneously tear themselves apart.
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Format: Paperback
Charles Bukowski�s work is fixated upon the underbelly of society, where the unctuous underachieving degenerate is glorified, low-life living is made normal, and alcoholism and crime not only flourish but are revered.
In his short story �GUTS� Bukowski describes what is the ubiquitous theme common to all of his work: �I�ve always admired the villain, the outlaw, the [SOB]. I don�t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways�I also like vile women, drunk cursing [b�s] with loose stockings and sloppy mascara faces. I�m more interested in perverts than Saints. I can relax with bums because I am a bum. I don�t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don�t like to be shaped by society.�
Unfortunately, many readers have difficulty looking past this admission, and find him unnecessarily offensive, dismissing him as a drunken vulgarion with a typewriter.
It�s too bad that Bukowski was obsessed with X rated themes and language, because he wrote in a style that read fast and easy, is entertaining, and could have been accessible to a very wide audience had he chosen a �lighter� subject.
Despite all this, I cannot honestly say that I dislike his work. I fact, I find his work to be page after page of comedy and, quite frankly, liberating from the structures and confines of everyday life. Yet, at the same time, although I often find myself describing Bukowski�s work as: crude, offensive, juvenile, among other things, I look past this because I do not read Bukowski�s work for some profound meaning or insight to life but strictly for fun, therefore expecting little more than alcohol induced writing at times resembling no more than bar banter.
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Format: Paperback
SOUTH OF NO NORTH by Charles Bukowski, is a GREAT collection of short stories, including many of his early published chapbooks, many of which lay the groundwork for his novels like POST OFFICE. Bukowski started writing short stories twenty years before he hit the poetry -- the bottle was in between and, seemingly, forever -- and his stories are haunting, often surreal, the way Robert Crumb's comics are unique, even disturbing. You will find where he started, in stories that include glimpses into his "lost" years when he was a drifting worker and bum. When he works in the desert carrying railroad ties, you feel the slivers in his gloveless hands, and you feel what it may have been that drove him to all the rest. SOUTH OF NO NORTH is his early best work. If you like Buk, definitely pick of this copy to keep near your favorite Buk novels like POST OFFICE, WOMEN, FACTOTUM. Along with this collection, I must recommend another Amazon quick-pick, THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez, obviously influenced by the great, one-of-a-kind Bukowski.
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Bukowski captures the essence of skid row. He is the voice of those who have given up on society, and maybe on themselves. This is an intersting take. These forgoton masses are usually kept silent, and often oppressed by labels...drunk, bum, trash. But through his writing, Bukowski has shown that these people which society deems worthless, are actually people with souls, hopes, and dreams. These hopes and dreams may not always be within the mores of society, but they are hopes and dreams nontheless. Bukowski brought a picture of those select people out of the gutter, and into the minds of main stream society.
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