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Post Office

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"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than 12 years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day "It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than 12 years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel - the one that catapulted its author to national fame - is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.


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"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than 12 years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day "It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than 12 years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel - the one that catapulted its author to national fame - is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.

30 review for Post Office

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    Okay, I can already hear the “booooos” from the Mitchellites saying “how can you give Cloud Atlas two stars, but you give THIS four stars?” I will tell you how. It’s simple really. I thought Cloud Atlas was “okay,” whereas I “really liked” this one. That’s all there is to it. So here we go... This book made me want to drink. A lot. I mean a lot, a lot. And it made me laugh. A lot. Now you know; my secret is out – I am a twisted, depraved human being who enjoys reading the thoughts of a dirty old Okay, I can already hear the “booooos” from the Mitchellites saying “how can you give Cloud Atlas two stars, but you give THIS four stars?” I will tell you how. It’s simple really. I thought Cloud Atlas was “okay,” whereas I “really liked” this one. That’s all there is to it. So here we go... This book made me want to drink. A lot. I mean a lot, a lot. And it made me laugh. A lot. Now you know; my secret is out – I am a twisted, depraved human being who enjoys reading the thoughts of a dirty old man. And I’m okay with that. I’m not going to read Bukowski for profundity; I’m going to read him when I need reminding not to take myself and life so daggone seriously. I mean, sometimes it’s just a good idea to let your hair down and read a bit of trashy, boozy fun. Let's call it making yourself more well rounded. This is his world folks, enter with caution! (Just be careful not to touch anything, you don't know where it's been). I enjoyed the fact that as I read the book, I didn’t feel like I was really reading. I felt like Bukowski was telling me a story. I could hear his gravelly voice and smell the whiskey on his breath. Some people might refer to his style as “conversational,” others, “raw.” To me, his writing was simple, like the everyman telling his tale. If the everyman is a pervy drunk. I like that. You know what else I like about Bukowski? He doesn’t overstay his welcome. I like a man who knows when to shut the hell up. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my cue. Oh wait.. in the immortal worlds of Modest Mouse -- and yeah I know he's a pretty good read, but God who'd want to be such an a$$hole?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    is it just me, or does reading bukowski make you want to listen to tom waits, too? finished post office last night and this morning listened to small change on the train. here are the opening lyrics to I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue): I don't mind working, 'cause I used to be jerking off most of my time in bars, I've been a cabbie and a stock clerk and a soda-fountain jock-jerk And a manic mechanic on cars. It's nice work if you can get it, now who the hell sa is it just me, or does reading bukowski make you want to listen to tom waits, too? finished post office last night and this morning listened to small change on the train. here are the opening lyrics to I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue): I don't mind working, 'cause I used to be jerking off most of my time in bars, I've been a cabbie and a stock clerk and a soda-fountain jock-jerk And a manic mechanic on cars. It's nice work if you can get it, now who the hell said it? I got money to spend on my gal, But the work never stops, and I'll be busting my chops Working for Joe and Sal. And I can't wait to get off work and see my baby, She said she'd leave the porch light on for me. I'm disheveled and I'm disdainful and I'm distracted and it's painful

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brent Legault

    Bukowski was once an idol of mine. I've since grown up. He took himself too seriously (while pretending that he didn't). And he was practically talentless. He had spunk and a surprising ("surprising" because of all the booze) work ethic but an ultimately boring sense of humor. His words are like what Hemingway would have thrown away. Bukowski was America's greatest one-trick pony. Or perhaps that's giving him too much credit. He might have had only half a trick, like that uncle of ours who used Bukowski was once an idol of mine. I've since grown up. He took himself too seriously (while pretending that he didn't). And he was practically talentless. He had spunk and a surprising ("surprising" because of all the booze) work ethic but an ultimately boring sense of humor. His words are like what Hemingway would have thrown away. Bukowski was America's greatest one-trick pony. Or perhaps that's giving him too much credit. He might have had only half a trick, like that uncle of ours who used to steal our noses. After a while, it's not even worth trying to get your nose back. You just want your uncle to pass out so he'll stop bothering you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    Why is reading Bukowski so much more enjoyable when you've been drinking? Easy: because everything's much more enjoyable when you've been drinking. Still, for however much the man's life and writing was informed by the bottle, it was informed by a lot of other things as well, and working for the U.S. Postal Service from the early 1950s to the late 1960s was one of them. This is the book where Bukowski explains how he fell into his career as mail carrier (and later mail clerk), why he stuck with t Why is reading Bukowski so much more enjoyable when you've been drinking? Easy: because everything's much more enjoyable when you've been drinking. Still, for however much the man's life and writing was informed by the bottle, it was informed by a lot of other things as well, and working for the U.S. Postal Service from the early 1950s to the late 1960s was one of them. This is the book where Bukowski explains how he fell into his career as mail carrier (and later mail clerk), why he stuck with the job for as long as he did, and everything that eventually forced him to quit. "It began as a mistake," he tells us at the outset. Doesn't everything, though? Our parents get together (mistake #1), we're conceived (mistake #2, sometimes also mistake #1), we're not aborted (mistake #3), and then the rest of our lives -- an unending succession of mistakes. Luckily for us, it DOES end eventually, but in between it's nothing but trial and error. What keeps us going is the knowledge that for all our fuck ups, it is precisely these mistakes that teach us how to live, what we love and what we loathe, our aspirations and our aversions. Bukowski knew this, which is why he wrote the sort of stuff he did, and why it resonates so well with so many. Admittedly, he wasn't the most sophisticated of writers. He does a lot more telling than showing, although the tales he tells show us quite a bit about the absurdities of modern life, the insanities we're so often driven to, and all the myriad ways in which we choose to cope. Post Office is no exception. I would read it if I were you, but then again, if I were you I'd probably kill myself. Or maybe I'd just grab a bottle and try to live for tonight instead. Cheers! For more Bukowski: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

    My first affair with Bukowski. I found this book while substitute teaching a group of tranquil 12th graders. I picked up the book, began reading, and couldn't believe that this book was allowed in a classroom. Luckily the students had no interest whatsoever in the book, so I had it all to my evil self. The book is hilarious. I read it in an afternoon. I became that crazy person in a coffee shop cackling over her book. The sentences are short and sharp. The protagonist has no regard for anything My first affair with Bukowski. I found this book while substitute teaching a group of tranquil 12th graders. I picked up the book, began reading, and couldn't believe that this book was allowed in a classroom. Luckily the students had no interest whatsoever in the book, so I had it all to my evil self. The book is hilarious. I read it in an afternoon. I became that crazy person in a coffee shop cackling over her book. The sentences are short and sharp. The protagonist has no regard for anything. He is a fucked up womanizer, but I still love it. The juxtaposition between his attitude and the solemnity demanded by the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE is too much. I almost died. Plus, Bukowski's use of capitalization is genius. I know he's fucked up, but I love him so.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthias

    Thank you for registering to BarBud! Ever wandered into a bar, hoping to meet a fellow to philosophize with deep into the night, only to find yourself alone with a student bartender who simply doesn't have it in him yet? Ever wanted to approach that old lonely drunk staring into his glass, so deeply lost in his thoughts that you dare not disturb him? Ever wanted to talk nonsense with a sleazy, voluptuous barfly, laugh and kiss and stroke and fuck and drink and drink and fuck and smoke and drink Thank you for registering to BarBud! Ever wandered into a bar, hoping to meet a fellow to philosophize with deep into the night, only to find yourself alone with a student bartender who simply doesn't have it in him yet? Ever wanted to approach that old lonely drunk staring into his glass, so deeply lost in his thoughts that you dare not disturb him? Ever wanted to talk nonsense with a sleazy, voluptuous barfly, laugh and kiss and stroke and fuck and drink and drink and fuck and smoke and drink and sleep and drink, but found no such willing individual during your outings? Can't find someone with whom to share the drink Billy Joel called loneliness? The times they are a-changing! BarBud is here to help. Based on your preferences, we will find the perfect selection of bar buddies for you, right in your neighbourhood. Get yourself your favorite drink and let's get crackin'. Gender preference: Irrelevant Motivation: The romantic tension that comes with meeting a strange lady in a bar will potentially crowd out any other thoughts in my mind, effectively reducing my conversational skills and potential for philosophical questing, but if she doesn't mind me just paying for her drinks and hearing her out and not have any of the romantic stuff happen that's fine by me. Also, my girlfriend is watching over my shoulder as I'm filling out this form. Just to make clear that sad, dirty old men are just as welcome! Political views: No strong ones Motivation: I aim to find someone to get along with, not someone who bores and aggravates me all at once. Favorite drink: Irrelevant Motivation: I'll drink anything, as long as it's much of it! Interests: Women, the little things, personal anecdotes Motivation: I like hearing about a guy's romantic conquests. Even when they're exaggerated and unbelievable, it's nice to compare notes or just be happy for the guy. By the little things I mean the stuff that's easy to hide but shouldn't be. Little physical ailments, little frustrations, little reasons to smile, little reasons to complain, the little things that fill a day and make a person. And personal anecdotes to add color and context to the BarBud. I want to know where he works, where he sleeps, his favorite swearwords used to coat around his soft nature. I want him to complain in a way that makes me laugh. I want to see his eyes glaze over with sadness and disappointment. I want him to regale me with stories of the strange people he's met in his life, the people who made him happy, who made him sad, who brought out his kindness and generous spirit, who made him violent and who made him despair. I want to hear about his bad days at work and his good days in the bedroom. I want to get to know my BarBud, the good and the really bad. I want to be the guy who understands him, pats him on the back, reassure him he's a good bloke no matter what the people in corner of the bar are saying about him and buy him a couple of drinks. Level happiness: Low - Medium low Motivation: I can see happy people on TV and Facebook all the time. Their stories mostly sound all the same. I think there's a famous book that starts with that kind of wisdom. My BarBud should be able to tell me which one, because I forget these things. Level of education: Irrelevant Motivation: We'll be meeting in a bar, not some fancy shmancy conference, so that "the university of life" stuff should do. Only my BarBud shouldn't mention that cliché or I'll kick him in the teeth and ask him to thank me for a free lesson. Submit Calculating... We have found (1) match! Charles Bukowski, also known as Henry Chinaski. Do not disturb before 5pm. He used to be spotted in several bars, around the post office, at the racetrack or in his moldy appartment, but since he's dead now we recommend looking for him at the library. In fact, we highly recommend it. Be sure to bring him with you on your next visit to the bar, it's where he truly shines.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    "It began as a mistake." No writer has written about the hoodlums, the lowlifes, the lost souls, the unemployed, the castaways etc etc more beautifully than Bukowski. He hasn't pitied them, like Dickens would. He hasn't detested them either. He has made us live their lives: talk their talk, walk their walk. The charm of this book lies in the relentless attachment of Chinaski to the US Postal Service, as he puts in thankless hours on the trot in pursuit of a life drowned in alcohol, cigarettes, r "It began as a mistake." No writer has written about the hoodlums, the lowlifes, the lost souls, the unemployed, the castaways etc etc more beautifully than Bukowski. He hasn't pitied them, like Dickens would. He hasn't detested them either. He has made us live their lives: talk their talk, walk their walk. The charm of this book lies in the relentless attachment of Chinaski to the US Postal Service, as he puts in thankless hours on the trot in pursuit of a life drowned in alcohol, cigarettes, race-horses and (obviously) women. Background The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of Bukowski's years working as a carrier and sorter for the United States Postal Service, the novel is "dedicated to nobody". Post Office introduces Bukowski's autobiographical alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. It covers the period of Bukowski's life from about 1952 to his resignation from the United States Postal Service three years later, to his return in 1958 and then to his final resignation in 1969. During this time, Chinaski/Bukowski worked as a mail carrier for a number of years. After a brief hiatus, in which he supported himself by gambling at horse races, he returned to the post office to work as a sorter. “What's wrong with assholes, baby?” Jane Cooney Baker, the love of Bukowski's life, is mentioned in the text as Betty. Bukowski's first wife, Barbara Frye is portrayed as Joyce, a wealthy nymphomaniac. Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway in the film Barfly. Dunaway's character Wanda was based on Jane Cooney Baker. “In the morning it was morning and I was still alive. Maybe I'll write a novel, I thought. And then I did.” In December 1969, John Martin founded Black Sparrow Press in order to publish Bukowski's writing, offering him $100 per month for life on condition that Bukowski would quit working for the post office and write full-time for Black Sparrow. Bukowski agreed; three weeks later, he had written Post Office. Note: Trigger warnings for rape and misogyny.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    I enjoyed this more than I expected and in some way, more than I think I should! Hank Chinaski describes a little more than a decade of his life. He is intelligent, but mostly lives the life of a loser: too much booze; menial work, mostly in the eponymous post office; bad relationships; bunking off work; betting on horses; more booze etc. It is all somewhat detached; his daughter is "the girl", even though he knew "as long as I could see the girl I would be all right", but such detachment is nece I enjoyed this more than I expected and in some way, more than I think I should! Hank Chinaski describes a little more than a decade of his life. He is intelligent, but mostly lives the life of a loser: too much booze; menial work, mostly in the eponymous post office; bad relationships; bunking off work; betting on horses; more booze etc. It is all somewhat detached; his daughter is "the girl", even though he knew "as long as I could see the girl I would be all right", but such detachment is necessary for him to survive his lifestyle, especially the times when he is hurt. Amorality Redeemed by Humour Despite his general lack of moral compass or consideration of such matters, and the dreadful way he treats some women, it is a compellingly written story, with a wonderful irreverent wit than won me over, rather as an indulgent adult overlooks the worst excesses of a naughty child. At times it appears like a rambling stream-of-consciousness, but I think that is a chimera and that it is actually a carefully crafted story. Bathos The opening line is, "It began as a mistake", section two opens, "Meanwhile, things went on" and the book closes with, "Maybe I'll write a novel I thought. And then I did." Wonderful bathos. When job hunting, "The first place smelled like work, so I took the second" and much of the humour comes from work, especially satirising the bureaucracy of the post office supervisors and colleagues who are variously incompetent, sadistic and playing the system. It's not just bureaucracy, but full control, bordering on brainwashing: at one point, they are told "Each letter you stick... beyond duty helps defeat the Russians!" Targets and training are rigorous and a nurse does spot checks on anyone off sick, yet those who miss targets get compulsory "counselling" (as well as disciplinary chits). When trying to learn the routes, Chinaski comes up with a variant of traditional memory techniques, but instead of visualising ordinary people and objects along the route, his is more like a series of orgies. Like many administratively burdened institutions, "You had to fill out more papers to get out than to get in", but before he leaves, Chinaski has one victory: a small fire from cigar ash heralds the introduction of ash trays: "I had all by myself... revolutionised the postal system", which I'm sure would be an epitaph he'd be happy with. Poignant Despite the light touch, Chinaski isn't immune from hurt, grief and introspection: "We slept without touching. We had both been robbed" and "How the hell do I know who you are or I am or anybody is?". Nevertheless, dirt and depravity notwithstanding, the overall tone is humorous. Insane but Never Dull? Early on Chinaski realises "the streets were full of insane and dull people"; he is probably the former, but certainly never the latter.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    Allow me to introduce you to... HENRY CHARLES "HANK" CHINASKI: > Monumental asshole and perpetual slob. > Self destructive alcoholic. > Insincerely servile and unrepentantly sarcastic. > Void of ambition. > Unpleasant, crass, cynical, womanising jerk. > Spends his time: - propping up bars; or - losing a small fortune at the racetrack; or - brawling; or - f**king; ...the latter with a claim he's an expert! Never have I come across a character that is just so disgraceful; a sad, lous Allow me to introduce you to... HENRY CHARLES "HANK" CHINASKI: > Monumental asshole and perpetual slob. > Self destructive alcoholic. > Insincerely servile and unrepentantly sarcastic. > Void of ambition. > Unpleasant, crass, cynical, womanising jerk. > Spends his time: - propping up bars; or - losing a small fortune at the racetrack; or - brawling; or - f**king; ...the latter with a claim he's an expert! Never have I come across a character that is just so disgraceful; a sad, lousy, pathetic bastard! The opening line of Post Office is: "It began as a mistake." I hoped the mistake was not mine in deciding to read this novel! The novel's narrator is Henry ("Hank") Chinaski, a middle-aged alcoholic, willing to buck any system, void of ambition, yet exhibiting superior intellect and reasoning. In his youth, Hank worked in slaughterhouses, crossed the country on a railroad track gang, worked in a dog biscuit factory, slept on park benches, and worked nickel-and-dime jobs in a dozen cities. He tells his story after waking up from a terrible drinking spree. During one christmas season, after hearing from a drunk that the Post Office would hire "damned near anybody to deliver the mail", Hank applies and is successful at securing a delivery job as a temp. Oh…but hang on a minute…it's not just mail that Hank is interested in delivering! "I think it was my second day as a Christmas temp that this big woman came out and walked around with me as I delivered letters. What I mean by big was that her ass was big and her tits were big and that she was big in all the right places. She seemed a bit crazy but I kept looking at her body and I didn't care. She talked and talked and talked. Then it came out. Her husband was an officer on an island far away and she got lonely, you know, and lived in this little house in back all by herself. "What little house?" I asked. She wrote the address on a piece of paper. "I'm lonely too," I said, "I'll come by and we'll talk tonight." I was shacked but the shackjob was gone half the time, off somewhere, and I was lonely all right. I was lonely for that big ass standing beside me. "All right," she said, "see you tonight." She was a good one all right, she was a good lay but like all lays after the third or fourth night I began to lose interest and didn't go back. But I couldn't help thinking, god, all these mailmen do is drop in their letters and get laid. This is the job for me, oh yes yes yes." Are you getting the picture here, my fellow GR readers? But while Hank is interested in the ladies, dogs are interested in Hank! "Let me tell you about the dogs. It was one of those 100 degree days and I was running along, sweating, sick, delirious, hungover. I stopped at a small apartment house with the box downstairs along the front pavement. I popped it open with my key. There wasn't a sound. Then I felt something jamming its way into my crotch. It moved way up there. I looked around and there was a German Shepherd, full-grown, with his nose halfway up my ass. With one snap of his jaws he could rip off my balls. I decided that those people were not going to get their mail that day, and maybe never get any mail again. Man, I mean he worked that nose in there. SNUFF! SNUFF! SNUFF!" Get outta there! It wasn't just private houses where Hank delivered the mail. Businesses were also included on his run, including the local Roman Catholic Church. "I went around to the side of the church and found a stairway going down. I went in through an open door. Do you know what I saw? A row of toilets. And showers. But it was dark. All the lights were out. How in hell can they expect a man to find a mailbox in the dark? Then I saw the light switch. I threw the thing and the lights in the church went on, inside and out. I walked into the next room and there were priests' robes spread out on the table. There was a bottle of wine. For Christ's sake, I thought, who in hell but me would ever get caught in a scene like this? I picked up the bottle of wine, had a good drag, left the letters on the robes, and walked back to the showers and toilets. I turned off the lights and took a shit in the dark and smoked a cigarette. I thought about taking a shower but I could see the headlines: MAILMAN CAUGHT DRINKING THE BLOOD OF GOD AND TAKING A SHOWER, NAKED, IN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH." Thanks for your 'contribution', Hank! Post Office is broken down into six distinct parts that recounts Hank's life as a succession of boring interludes over a fourteen-year period of employment in the postal service. The plot moves along on the intensity and energy of various crises involving Hank and his supervisors, coworkers, and lovers. He is a typical picaresque hero, the rogue who satirizes his authoritative supervisors. His tone is consistently cynical, he drinks excessively, and he appears to positively avoid success or happiness or comfort, preferring to subsist in penury and even misery. He's a congenital loser trapped in a dead-end profession from which he can derive no personal satisfaction, yet possessed of enough self-awareness to recognize the absurdity of his situation. It is widely reported that Hank is, in fact, the author's (Charles Bukowski) alter-ego and that is why the novel is written straight from the hip in unambiguous, accessible prose. Charles Bukowski. I swear I had this image of Hank when I was reading Post Office!!!! The novel sheds light on Bukowski's life during the period from 1952 and until he resigned from his job at the post office in 1955, before returning to his position in 1958, where he continued to work until 1969. One never knows just where Bukowski's life ends and Hank's life begins! It is widely written that Bukowski too led a reckless life; his relationships with women and his world, which was full of gambling at horse races, booze, sex, homelessness, postal service, and crazy events, were full of black comedy at times and yet deeply tragic at others. This unfolds as Hank recounts his history of working at the post office. The closing lines of Post Office are as brilliant as the opening and one gets a sense here that this was Bukowski speaking through Hank again, during a life-affirming moment: "In the morning it was morning and I was still alive. Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought. And then I did." It was not a mistake to read this book. I'm glad I did. I went through the gamut of emotions, including laughing at the moments of levity. I recommend Post Office with caveats. If easily offended by language then think twice about reading it. Looking at the big picture, this is an insightful and thought-provoking story about a working man trying to survive the day to day. A classic read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Another masterpiece of feminism in American Literature. JK! Oh, nah. The daily tale of the proletariat is fully disclosed here in such a disarming & shocking manner. The protagonist is one alcoholic, misogynistic mess! And I love him for it, & perhaps now C. Bukowski, too. Cannot wait to discover his books!

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    “We’re forced into absurd lives, against which the only sane response is to wage a guerrilla operation of humor and lust and madness"—Chinaski/Bukowski I just finished, with a sour taste in my mouth, Bukowski’s Women, infamously making many of the Worst Misogynist Novels of All Time lists, but maybe in part because I am a masochist (and because it just happened to pop up on my audio tape queue and had some time to drive and listen), I jumped right back in to Bukowski, into the novel that catapult “We’re forced into absurd lives, against which the only sane response is to wage a guerrilla operation of humor and lust and madness"—Chinaski/Bukowski I just finished, with a sour taste in my mouth, Bukowski’s Women, infamously making many of the Worst Misogynist Novels of All Time lists, but maybe in part because I am a masochist (and because it just happened to pop up on my audio tape queue and had some time to drive and listen), I jumped right back in to Bukowski, into the novel that catapulted this former postal worker to fame/infamy. A quick comparison: Women (1978) is mostly sad, woman after woman, without apology or shame. The events of that book describe the time after Chinaski/Bukowski (Chinaski is Bukowksi’s fictional alter-ego) begins to get famous, with opportunities for an unsatisfying parade of women. Both books have lots of women, booze, and gambling, but in Post Office there are places of real regret and sorrow, and a little joy. There’s more humor, genuinely funny spot-on meditations/anecdotes about the absurdities of working at the post office that anyone who has ever worked a shitty job can relate to; there’s a divorce, there’s the death of Betty, his old girlfriend, who visits him before she dies: “I met Betty on the street. ‘I saw you with that bitch a while back. She's not your kind of woman.’ ‘None of them are.’” And none of them actually seem to be, though he is constantly looking for, or at least settling for, sex. But try as they may, he and Betty can’t recreate the early “magic” of their relationship: “It was sad, it was sad, it was sad. When Betty came back we didn't sing or laugh, or even argue. We sat drinking in the dark, smoking cigarettes, and when we went to sleep, I didn't put my feet on her body or she on mine like we used to. We slept without touching. We had both been robbed.” Elsewhere, he speaks a kind of gutter truth: “Lady, how the hell do I know who you are or I am or anybody is?” In Women there are far fewer insights such as these, such as they are, anguished. But he grieves his losses here in a way he does not, or does far far less, in Women. And later in this one he and Fay have a daughter, which is a gift for him (though it is not the focus of the book in any way, and that happiness doesn’t seem to last forever, either). These events of ordinary joy and loss seem to humanize Bukowski a bit, though we aren’t talking sainthood here; Bukowski is always Bukowski: “I put on some bacon and eggs and celebrated with an extra quart of beer.” He’s a pretty lovable and charming guy at times we connect to especially through our shared experience of terrible jobs, doing “the same thing over and over again,” his humorous self-deprecation/nihilism, and bad relationships. Oh, he’s often a crabby, irascible asshole, but as he says (in a longer meditation on the subject): “What's wrong with assholes, baby?” Indeed, what’s wrong with them! Post Office is pretty funny at times, wincingly funny, and very entertainingly written.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Smith

    What do you get when you mix two cases of beer, chronic gambling, and a vulgar, "Fuck this world and fuck you if you live in it" attitude? Probably not a very nice person. But after reading "Post Office", my first by Bukowski, you start to realize that there are too many fucking pussy ass nice people in the world. I wish sometimes that I could live ten minutes of my life the way Henry Chininski wakes up every morning. Maybe then my balls might drop just an inch or two and I could get the fucking What do you get when you mix two cases of beer, chronic gambling, and a vulgar, "Fuck this world and fuck you if you live in it" attitude? Probably not a very nice person. But after reading "Post Office", my first by Bukowski, you start to realize that there are too many fucking pussy ass nice people in the world. I wish sometimes that I could live ten minutes of my life the way Henry Chininski wakes up every morning. Maybe then my balls might drop just an inch or two and I could get the fucking cohones together to do something REAL and FRESH. Not that Chininski was any Henry fucking Ford. The opposite, actually. This mofo was lazy, self-destructive, and pretty much just amazing. Reading "Post Office" isn't just an entertaining romp into the mind of a tortured genius drunk shithead (it is); it's also an excellent resource for figuring out why modern writers have such stupid literary style (it all started with you, Bukowski). So, next time you wake up and you feel like fucking pounding a case of Schlitz right after you beat the shit out of your cute ass toy poodle, read "Post Office" and get motivation to sit on your ass, complain about your job, shit on the opposite sex, and really, really, really fucking appreciate the finer delicacies of life. Because life is amazing, you just gotta punch the shit out of it sometimes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Charles Bukowski's first novel presenting roughly the last fifteen years before his 50th birthday. He will have spent 12 years living this hellish job at the post office, horse racing, alcohol and women. Women he meets rather seriously, two or three long and many relationships, but still an unconditional love for the drink. And when he describes his work, one can understand why he sinks so easily into alcohol and needs women to clear his head. This autobiography is written in a familiar register Charles Bukowski's first novel presenting roughly the last fifteen years before his 50th birthday. He will have spent 12 years living this hellish job at the post office, horse racing, alcohol and women. Women he meets rather seriously, two or three long and many relationships, but still an unconditional love for the drink. And when he describes his work, one can understand why he sinks so easily into alcohol and needs women to clear his head. This autobiography is written in a familiar register perfectly corresponding to what it means. A very good novel without dead time. I don't know about you, but that does not make you want to be a postman...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kirstine

    Bukowski puzzles me. This could be a true story, he could honest to god have sat down one day, with a hangover from hell, and decided to write this book, for no other reason than to tell the world "I exist. Lives like this are lived every day". Something struck me, not in the book (well, to be honest, the entire book struck me), but there was something on the back of it. One of the reviews read: "Cunning, relentlessly jokey and sad". That broke me. It isn't relentlessly funny, no, it's relentles Bukowski puzzles me. This could be a true story, he could honest to god have sat down one day, with a hangover from hell, and decided to write this book, for no other reason than to tell the world "I exist. Lives like this are lived every day". Something struck me, not in the book (well, to be honest, the entire book struck me), but there was something on the back of it. One of the reviews read: "Cunning, relentlessly jokey and sad". That broke me. It isn't relentlessly funny, no, it's relentlessly jokey. What's the difference? Funny is clean, it makes you feel good, like it'll all work out in the end. Jokey is when you're standing in the gutter knee deep in shit and you make a joke about not lighting a cigarette because it would set the world on fire. Or something like that. So I agree this book isn't funny, there are no thought through jokes, they were never meant to be written down on paper and told in a microphone for a well-dressed crowd, the world simply shoved situations in his face and he decided to laugh. Jokey indeed, and well done, Bukowski has you laughing with him. Then there's the other part "and sad". And sad. At the end of the sentence, like it's an afterthought, the feeling you're left with when all the others have come and gone. It's so simple, no fancy word, no 'sorrowful', no 'endlessly depressing'. It's sad. Like that. There's not a damn thing you can do about it, it's the way it is. It won't make you cry, but it will make you feel like drinking. I wasn't sure how much I liked it when I finished it last night. But then I woke up this morning and I felt a strange desire to read it again. It just hit me out of nowhere, it was like realising you're hungry, instead I just wanted more of this, this book, of Henry Chinaski. Perhaps it was simply the pull of a life I'll never know, of struggles I'll never endure. In any case, it made an impression. I recommend you try it out for yourself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    “The ocean, look at it out there, battering, crawling up and down. And underneath all that, the fish, the poor fish fighting each other, eating each other. We're like those fish, only we're up here. One bad move and you're finished. It's nice to be a champion. It's nice to know your moves.” This is Charles Bukowski’s life philosophy and according to it, he depicts his life… “The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn't seem to work, and you wondered “The ocean, look at it out there, battering, crawling up and down. And underneath all that, the fish, the poor fish fighting each other, eating each other. We're like those fish, only we're up here. One bad move and you're finished. It's nice to be a champion. It's nice to know your moves.” This is Charles Bukowski’s life philosophy and according to it, he depicts his life… “The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn't seem to work, and you wondered how they did it. There was one guy who wouldn't let you put the mail in his box.” Post Office is laden with subtly rude but precise observations of everyday life. “I had come to the racetrack after the other two funerals and had won. There was something about funerals. It made you see things better. A funeral a day and I'd be rich.” I quite admire Charles Bukowski’s dark and desperate humour and his ability to turn cynicism into literature. ‘Take it as it comes’ was his ultimate truth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is my first Charles Bukowski reading experience after watching the documentary on him called BORN INTO THIS. I found that film moving and Bukowski to be someone endearing --a misfit and self-hating artist--who set out to do for writing and poetry what the punk rockers did -- bring it back “to the people.” This then is a proletariat novel of sorts, about “the working class.” But it’s also very funny in its bluntness and admirable in its honesty. And that seems to be Bukowski’s gift -- his ra This is my first Charles Bukowski reading experience after watching the documentary on him called BORN INTO THIS. I found that film moving and Bukowski to be someone endearing --a misfit and self-hating artist--who set out to do for writing and poetry what the punk rockers did -- bring it back “to the people.” This then is a proletariat novel of sorts, about “the working class.” But it’s also very funny in its bluntness and admirable in its honesty. And that seems to be Bukowski’s gift -- his raw honesty. The story is about the drudgery of being a working stiff. It covers his run with the post office as a postman and a mail sorter. And it seems to be about his years “in Hell.” It’s a story that most people can relate to because most people hate their jobs -- and yet they’re forced to put up with the constant humiliation out of necessity. Here the post office represents the demeaning and stupid bureaucracy with its constant idiot regulations and write-ups and other demeaning practices. I wonder if this novel were written today if it would not be labeled a “memoir.” Because largely it seems to be true. And the book has a quasi-documentary feel. POST OFFICE by Charles Bukowski is a great book. Raw, vulgar and a little nasty -- and in that way it reminds me another novel I just finished reading -- and one I recommend -- PERMANENT OBSCURITY by Richard Perez. That novel is also gritty and blunt and “real.” I’ll be picking up more of Charles Bukowski’s books in the future!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” This was my first book by Bukowski and I am pleasantly surprised. He provokes the reader’s intelligence and tolerance with every sentence he writes. I enjoyed every page, though it’s definitely not a light read. His writing style is everything but poetic or cultivated, but consumes you into the story almost instantly. Post Office consists of six parts that depict on Hank's life over a fourteen-year period of employmen “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” This was my first book by Bukowski and I am pleasantly surprised. He provokes the reader’s intelligence and tolerance with every sentence he writes. I enjoyed every page, though it’s definitely not a light read. His writing style is everything but poetic or cultivated, but consumes you into the story almost instantly. Post Office consists of six parts that depict on Hank's life over a fourteen-year period of employment in the postal service. With constantly being under stress, frustration and full of hate for his life, the narrator is a great host for this character-driven plot. Basically, this book is an ode to the reasons why the tyranny of bureaucracy is worse than any dictator. “The first place smelled like work, so I took the second.” This sentence shows how the story moved forward. The plot becomes more intense after various crises and stories involving Hank and his supervisors, coworkers, and lovers. It's refreshing to read a book so straight to the point, while making me laugh on many occasions. The sentences are short and sharp, there is an element of "everyday life" situations that everyone can identify with - looking at your job like it’s a trap that eats all of your positive energy. The novel is underlaid with hollowness and misery. Despite his general indifference to social conventions and the outrageous way he treated some of the women he crossed his path with, this is an intriguing story. “The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn’t seem to work, and you wondered how they did it.” Honestly, if some of you didn’t experience this while driving to the job, you probably shouldn’t read this book. While it doesn't look like it on a first glance, this is an emotional book. It shamelessly digs into deepest corners of an average human, and I suppose everyone is afraid of remaining average. Hank is spoiled and has a horrible personality but is such a compelling character and unexpectedly likable. The protagonist has no respect for anything, not even for himself. While being a fucked up womanizer, in addition he’s a lazy, self-destructive alcoholic. His tone of narrating is consistently cynical, he drinks excessively, and successfully avoids any kind of happiness or comfort. "In the morning it was morning and I was still alive. Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought. And then I did." This is the last sentence of the book. It is effective, but doesn’t really give a closure. It bugs me that I don't know the outcome of his story. Not that I expected some deep conclusion or anything, but any kind of retrospective would’ve been warmly welcomed. That is why I give the novel only 4 stars instead of 5. “I wasn’t much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.” It’s hard to believe that the same man who said this is the one who lacked any ambition or desire to lead a decent life. I wanted him to escape from obscurity, but all he did was fall deeper into the mud. It saddens me even more that not much of this is fiction, but fragments from author's life. I just hope he found some peace.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A brutally honest account of life as a wage slave in a petty fiefdom. I've always heard people talk about government jobs like you'd be set for life. If this account is any indication, it's more like life in prison. (And to think he gave it all up to write!) Bukowski's alter-ego, Henry Chinaski, is a drunk pig for most of the ten years this book describes, and I just loved him :D

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sohaib

    Super funny and quick to read. This novel is a semi-autobiographical account that tells the story of Hank Chinaski, the literary alter ego of Bukowski. At certain places in the book, I took this simply as his own fantasy of how he saw or wanted to see himself. Anyway, Hank is a cynical antihero. He loves two things more than anything, booze and women. Hank starts as a post service substitute carrier, a sub mailman. When he finally makes "regular," he quits. He takes to the racetracks, drinking al Super funny and quick to read. This novel is a semi-autobiographical account that tells the story of Hank Chinaski, the literary alter ego of Bukowski. At certain places in the book, I took this simply as his own fantasy of how he saw or wanted to see himself. Anyway, Hank is a cynical antihero. He loves two things more than anything, booze and women. Hank starts as a post service substitute carrier, a sub mailman. When he finally makes "regular," he quits. He takes to the racetracks, drinking all day, placing bets, doing nothing. His shackjob, and ironically, the love of his life, Betty, gets a job then and starts supporting the two of them. This bothers her because now her precious neighbours will think this way. She also knows that he is flirting with the woman next door. Naturally, Betty dumps him. Lucky Hank ends up with a wealthy nymphomaniac called Joyce, who later decides that the two should get married. To prove to her family that he is not after her money, Joyce urges him to get a full-time job. And soon Hank finds himself trying to get back to the post office. This book, I think, comes close to being a satirical take on nine-to-five jobs, and the pointless drudgery these jobs often entail.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Post Office is an account of one man's struggle with regular employment. Henry Chinaski is a heavy drinker, gambler and philanderer. His actions are often crass and immoral, and his behaviour gets quite sketchy at times, but despite all this, it's hard not to identify and sympathise with him. For the reader, there is a guilty sense of vicarious liberation that comes from living in his shoes. He acts reflexively according to his desires, with little concern for the long term. His voice is irrever Post Office is an account of one man's struggle with regular employment. Henry Chinaski is a heavy drinker, gambler and philanderer. His actions are often crass and immoral, and his behaviour gets quite sketchy at times, but despite all this, it's hard not to identify and sympathise with him. For the reader, there is a guilty sense of vicarious liberation that comes from living in his shoes. He acts reflexively according to his desires, with little concern for the long term. His voice is irreverent, offensive, funny, and very refreshing. But Post Office is not an entirely frivolous affair. Henry is in many ways a sad and lonely figure, and his story is filled with moments of deep melancholy. He has a heart. His story is outrageous, yet authentic. Coarse, yet deeply sensitive. What a ride.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    My grandma hated the postman in my hometown because he kicked my 13 year old mutt dog when he thought no one was around. In fact, after this postman died in an awful motorcycle crash, and everyone in town was walking around going, "Holy shit, did you hear about that crash?" my gradma would just stare them down and say, "You know, he was not a nice guy -he kicked my grandson's dog for no reason."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    I worked for the Postal Service for 34 years. I wasn't Charles Bukowski - had neither his talent nor his self destructive ways - but I can say that there's a lot of truth in this novel, along with humor and typical Bukowski attitude. One of his best.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Henry Martin

    There are already so many reviews of this title, that I may not be saying anything new. Yet, I feel there is one piece missing. Bukowski was a fascinating author and although I do find his short stories to be among the best shorts ever written, I also enjoy his longer pieces, such as the Post Office. Bukowski's writing always fills me with inspiration. His short, seemingly uncombed, sentences penetrate my brain like spears, flow off the tongue with ease, and never fail to leave something behind, There are already so many reviews of this title, that I may not be saying anything new. Yet, I feel there is one piece missing. Bukowski was a fascinating author and although I do find his short stories to be among the best shorts ever written, I also enjoy his longer pieces, such as the Post Office. Bukowski's writing always fills me with inspiration. His short, seemingly uncombed, sentences penetrate my brain like spears, flow off the tongue with ease, and never fail to leave something behind, long after I am done with the book. I admire his style, his honesty, his raw nature, and his unique approach when it comes to portraying life in its purest. He does not try to impress with elaborate sentence structure or flowery vocabulary, he does not try to romanticize life. His views, his images, his words...are all real; as real as it gets. Bukowski's alter ego, Henry Chinaski, is a man -- a simple, living, breathing man, playing whatever cards life had dealt him. He is a smoking, drinking, farting, gambling man struggling to maintain his head above water, while bound by the chains society ties him with. He is moving through life, seemingly with a certain nonchalance, yet suffering. Suffering from the all-too-human condition many of us know. For one, he is not attached enough to bleed when faced with a loss, yet, he is not completely detached to be indifferent when served a blow. And he is served plenty of blows. Whoever put together this edition, decided to call it "one of the funniest books ever written" I disagree. Bukowski, and Henry Chinaski's "adventures" are humorous, but most of all, his stories are sad. Sad on the human level. While reading, we are bound to smile, laugh and grin, yet, below the surface, between the lines, is hidden human suffering. Suffering we can all relate to, whether dealing with an "impossible" life partner, or with the "evil" boss, we all have something in common with Chinaski. We may not drink as much, smoke as much, eat better, live in better conditions, but we can relate. And this is exactly what makes Bukowski as relevant today, as it did when the book was first published. It is the most precious of connections -- connecting with the author on a human level. Along with Miller, Steinbeck, Kerouac, Harold Maine and Albert Cossery, Bukowski remains one of my favorite authors; the sort of author I can go back to at any time and find his writing relevant and entertaining. If you never read Bukowski, go give him a try. You won't be disappointed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    There's this whole hallowed tradition of guys writing about their dicks, right? And it's boring. Sometimes some guy will come up with a new way of writing about his dick, your Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow, or someone's particularly good at writing about his dick, like Philip Roth or Bukowski, and everybody's like, ta-dah! New horizons in dick literature! But it's still just dicks, isn't it? How guys feel about their dicks, and what guys would like to do with their dicks, and whether guys' dicks There's this whole hallowed tradition of guys writing about their dicks, right? And it's boring. Sometimes some guy will come up with a new way of writing about his dick, your Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow, or someone's particularly good at writing about his dick, like Philip Roth or Bukowski, and everybody's like, ta-dah! New horizons in dick literature! But it's still just dicks, isn't it? How guys feel about their dicks, and what guys would like to do with their dicks, and whether guys' dicks are any good, and it's all so boring. I'm not part of any movement here, I'm not trying to make some political point, I'm just saying you guys gotta shut up about your dicks. It's fuckin' boring.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Parthiban Sekar

    Screw, shit, Six-pack, and Post office.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    The cover said: "One of the funniest novels ever written." The little Joe Pesci on my shoulder kept chiming in, "Funny how?...I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to [email protected]$%in' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how?..." No, I must say not amusing funny, little Joe on my shoulder, definitely not amusing. I'm guessing funny as in no matter what this loser Chinaski does, he always ends up getting drunk and then working, while hungover, at his soul deadening job The cover said: "One of the funniest novels ever written." The little Joe Pesci on my shoulder kept chiming in, "Funny how?...I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to [email protected]$%in' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how?..." No, I must say not amusing funny, little Joe on my shoulder, definitely not amusing. I'm guessing funny as in no matter what this loser Chinaski does, he always ends up getting drunk and then working, while hungover, at his soul deadening job throwing letters into the appropriate cubbyholes. The protagonist has no redeeming qualities and revels in his drunken squalor. He only finds companionship because it's 1968 in San Francisco or LA...hippie sluts falling out of the woodwork...and in the 15 years the reader is drug through this drivel, no one learns a lesson, is left for the better, changes their direction in life or even follows a plot line. I can see why "critics" like this book: the author's photograph is grainy, while the author himself and his pockmarked, bulbous, whisky reddened nose is obscured by a thick haze of cigarette smoke. (I could smell him through the picture.) The story starts out following a drunk scumbag who is of no benefit to society (other than purchasing from liquor stores.) This scumbag gets a job in gov't service, complains that the bosses make him, like, actually work (geez, don't they know he's hung over, they're harshing his mellow!) he quits the job for no obvious reason, but--this is key to the critics--he learns no lesson, and forgets that he hates it, and goes back to the job. Hooray! Critical success. I got the same vibe from this book as I did from Rabbit, Run and Catcher in the Rye, only this time I feel dumber for having read this crap, because in these two books I had the desire to reach into the books and smack the snot out of the protagonists. In Post Office, I could not have cared less about Chinaski, and may have preferred that he died.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samir Rawas Sarayji

    A good and quick read. I love the stripped down, short and direct sentences that tell it like it is. It's minimalism but not in the Hemingwayesque style, i.e consciously being clever, instead, it's the voice that's in tune with the narrator's thought processes. This is what makes Henry Chinaski's story very addictive to read. It's also its weakness because we are never privy to the inner consciousness of Chinaski. His first wife leaves him and he just accepts it. His second leaves him and he jus A good and quick read. I love the stripped down, short and direct sentences that tell it like it is. It's minimalism but not in the Hemingwayesque style, i.e consciously being clever, instead, it's the voice that's in tune with the narrator's thought processes. This is what makes Henry Chinaski's story very addictive to read. It's also its weakness because we are never privy to the inner consciousness of Chinaski. His first wife leaves him and he just accepts it. His second leaves him and he just accepts it. The mother of his (possible) daughter dies and he just accepts it. Perhaps this is what happens in the mind of a drunk. BUT, drunks are also sentimental people with unfiltered emotions, and there's no such thing with Chinaski. It's therefore hard to form a complete picture of Bukowski's alter ego, to really understand why it's possible for him to just accept everything. The rest of it— a moral compass, likability, vulagrity—doesn't matter; in fact, it's what makes Chinaski digestible, the flawed hero. 'Hero' because there are moments of goodness that shine throughout the mundanity and craziness of his life. Only, these stand-out moments are not strong enough to delve the reader into the inner workings of Chinaski. After reading Women first, and now Post Office, I do want to know what makes Chinaski tick.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Recommended to anyone looking for a good book about fucking, drinking, gambling, shitting, puking, pissing, chasing tail and sorting mail.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mya

    Many of the alt-trendy/hipster books I've read remind me of this quote from Katharine Dunn: "There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity. These are frequently artists and performers, adventurers and wide-life devotees. "Then Many of the alt-trendy/hipster books I've read remind me of this quote from Katharine Dunn: "There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity. These are frequently artists and performers, adventurers and wide-life devotees. "Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roula

    ah charles, FINALLY we meet again..

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