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Pulp by Charles Bukowski
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Pulp (original 1994; edition 1997)

by Charles Bukowski

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1,434195,244 (3.53)16
Member:Mortag
Title:Pulp
Authors:Charles Bukowski
Info:Le Livre de Poche (1997), Poche, 189 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
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Pulp by Charles Bukowski (1994)

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» See also 16 mentions

English (14)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  English (19)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Bukowski’s last novel is a fun and ridiculous one. Humorously nihilistic, Pulp tosses around, and even mutates, the standard noir private investigator clichés like candy.

Los Angeles P.I. Nick Belane, horny, drunk and broke, has three cases fall into his lap at once. They involve Lady Death, space aliens and a dead French writer (Celine.) And, of course, beautiful but dangerous women – one of which is Death. Unmistakably a Bukowski novel. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jul 1, 2016 |
Charles Bukowski's final novel, Pulp, is hard to assess. On one level, it's rubbish. It makes no sense, what with its space aliens and red sparrows, and at times it seems like a rough draft that could have used a bit more polish. Bukowski's work has always had that rough-around-the-edges feel, but it didn't feel like that here. It felt incomplete, unfocused - the 'Red Sparrow as metaphor for death' angle was clearly intended, but difficult to reason out. One can see the strands - Lady Death is obviously the Grim Reaper (What a babe. Never let you down." (pg. 142)), and the loan that Nicky Belane, the protagonist, is "suckered into and never saw" a dime of (pg. 170) is clearly a metaphor for life itself. Bukowski is confronting life's biggest mystery - death - and so chooses a detective mystery setting; perhaps this novel is the only known instance of 'existential pulp fiction'. It's an idea which never comes fully to fruition, but is intriguing nonetheless.

Yet on another level, Pulp is immensely enjoyable, as Bukowski takes away what few shackles may have influenced his previous writing and just lets rip with gleeful abandon. Pulp shows Bukowski at his most batshit crazy; the book is absurd, and all the more entertaining for being so. Why are there space aliens? Just because. Why are there grapefruits on the floor? "Because I like them like that." (pg. 36). The Buk is clearly enjoying himself; at one point he stops half-way through a pervy description of a beautiful woman with the words: "Don't bother me now. I want to think about it." (pg. 4). There's a lot more identifiable humour than in his previous books; his character of Nicky Belane is essentially Chinaski, the protagonist of his other novels, but with a gun. This, after all, is a private detective whose idea of investigative work is just to walk into a random bar and shout at the baffled patrons: "Has anybody here seen Cindy, Celine or the Red Sparrow?" (pg. 31). He's also a large ham - note his 'choo-choo' speech to Brewster on page 47. All in all, it's just a riot to read, especially when Belane has his camcorder with him.

That said, it's not for apprentice Bukowski-ites. I think the reason I enjoyed Pulp so much is because I was familiar with the author's style, so it helps if readers have read some of his other novels first. As a pulp detective novel, it is rather less than ordinary, but as 'Bukowski-pulp' for ardent Bukowski fans, it's a real treat." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Ridiculous but charming. ( )
  mcolv989 | Mar 20, 2014 |
It's basically like Chandler or Hammett on acid with aliens, Lady Death, and of course the mysterious Red Sparrow. ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |
This is a hilarious, absurd book. It's a caricature of detective stories and, I'm told, is full of clever allusions to Bukowski's previous work and others' he admired. I think it's also about death. It so happens that it was his last novel.

This is the first thing I've ever read of his. ( )
  dmac7 | Jun 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Depresso, appesantito da una pancia ingombrante, il conto in rosso, i creditori sempre alle porte, tre matrimoni alla spalle, Nick Belane è un detective, "il più dritto detective di Los Angeles". Bukowski gioca con un vecchio stereotipo e vi aggiunge la sua filosofia di lucido beone, il suo esistenzialismo da taverna e un pizzico di cupa, autentica disperazione. I bar, le episodiche considerazioni sul destino, il cinismo, l'ormai sbiadito demone del sesso, il fallimento professioale ed esistenziale, insieme alle mere invenzioni narrative, diventano il "pulp" ('pasticcio') del titolo. Lontano dalle atmosfere tenebrose delle ordinarie follie, un piccolo capolavoro d'ironia, il testamento spirituale di un grande scrittore che non ha mai esitato a immergersi nel degrado della società contemporanea.
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A takeoff on private eye novels by the author of Ham on Rye. In Los Angeles, PI Nick Belane is hired by Lady Death to find out if the man she spotted in a bookstore is the dead French writer, Celine, or an impersonator. The assignment leads Belane to many bars, many fights and many beautiful women.… (more)

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