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Women Paperback – June 5, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 320 customer reviews

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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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (October 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876853904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876853900
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
as the first book of charles bukowski's that i ever read, "Women" holds a special place in my heart. it is an insane story of henry chinaski and his misunderstandings and communications with women. autobiographical to an extent, this book, and all of bukowski's, are special because they are so graphically and emotionally honest. no one else paints such candid portraits of the human psyche in its most degenerate and politically incorrect situations. no other author can put so much vulgarity into a work and make it sound as natural as bukowski does. everything and every word in his novels have a place and a meaning, making his writing style so refreshingly satisfying, that you can't help but to live vicariously through his beautiful insanity. "women" introduced me to this great american poet/novelist, and it is my belief that this book definitely makes for a proper introduction to his works.
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Format: Paperback
I was inspired to reread Charles Bukowski's novel, "Women", (1975) after seeing the recent film documentary, "Bukowski: Born into This" which offers a compelling picture of "Buk's" life replete with interviews of Bukowski, his women, and friends.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was born in Germany but his family moved to the United States when he was three. He wandered around the country for some years living in cheap rooming houses and drinking. He worked as a laborer and for the post office for many years and wrote poems and stories in his spare time. His work gradually attracted a following and was published by Black Sparrow Press. He achieved substantial acclaim before his death and his work continues to be read. It is low-down, graphic, and visceral.

Bukowski's novel "Women" (1975), is told in the voice of a character called Henry Chinaski, as are many other Bukowski novels. The book is largely autobiographical, but the use of a fictitous narrator provides a certain distance from its author, and deliberately so. During the course of "Women", Chinaski remarks more than once how his (Chinaski's) character differs to some degree from the public perception. I find it useful to remember the tension between the fictional Chinaski and the actual Bukowski in reading Bukowski's novels.

"Women" begins when Chinaski is 50 years old and is lamenting his lengthy lack of a sexual relationship with a woman. This lack is soon remedied during the course of the novel. Much of the story consists of a recounting of Chinaski's encounters with many women, most of whom are much younger than he is. Some of these encounters are brief one night stands, others continue over a period of time.
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By A Customer on January 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
College Hill Bookstore, Brown University, Providence, RI. I'm a prospective student, visiting, waiting to meet my student host, feeling strange, feeling out of place, killing time. Bukowski jumps out at me from the bookshelf in the Poetry section. Women. I read three pages. I, world's biggest cheapskate and 16-year-old with a job that pays *less* than minimum wage, shell out $16 and walk out of the store with a quick step and a smile. I read it in a sandwich shop and felt like I was following my nutso ex-lover down dirty streets watching her walk away with my furniture. I got drunk. I had sex. I finished my sandwich. I've designed an independent study English class for myself just so I can read Bukowski. I feel like I understand women better now, and I *am* one.
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I've concluded that most people who discovered Charles Bukowski in their teenage years eventually grow out of the old crank. The few readers who don't go the other way and come to idolize Bukowski even more. When I was 17 or 18, I went on a Bukowski binge, reading "Post Office," "South of No North" and "Factotum" in about a week. This was around the same time that the movie "Barfly" came out. (The picture stars Mickey Rourke in what remains his best performance as Bukowski's alter ego, Henry Chinaski.) Bukowski then wrote a novel about the moviemaking experience in "Hollywood," which I also read a few years after the initial Bukowski binge. (For the record, I haven't been exposed to any of Bukowski's poetry.) Well, now twenty years have passed, and I decided to revisit a writer who played a role in my formative years and picked up "Women," which, like many of Bukowski's novels features his stand-in, Chinaski, the former postal worker turned poet and novelist. I can't say I was disappointed by "Women," because I knew what to expect going in. That said, the semi-autobiographical work just didn't connect with me on the same level as the books that I remember from decades ago. This could be for a number of reasons. First, Bukowski works better in short doses. "Post Office" was a breezy, hilarious read. "Women" comes in at almost 300 pages, and quickly turns repetitive. It's basically the same story told 20 times: Chinaski meets a much younger woman, beds her, they argue, break up, get back together, break up again, with lots of drinking and gambling in between. Second, Bukowski/Chinaski was a better read when he was a struggling writer. In "Women," Chinaski has achieved a small amount of fame, so the reader has to put up with endless poetry readings in the narrative.Read more ›
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