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South of No North: Stories of the Buried…

South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life (edition 1988)

by Charles Bukowski

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685613,926 (3.8)1
Title:South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life
Authors:Charles Bukowski
Info:Black Sparrow Press (1988), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life by Charles Bukowski



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A number of good Chinaski stories unfortunately can't save this overall ho-hum collection. Of Charles Bukowski's three chosen modes, verse, novel, and short story, the last of these has proven the weakest. Of course, chances are, if you're reading this book you're a big fan like I am, so you'll probably read it anyway but to me this has been his worst book besides Septuagenarian Stew. ( )
  Salmondaze | Jan 12, 2015 |
Bukowskis simple, elegant, humourous and often brutal portrayal of lifes down and outers.
  nickrenkin | Mar 26, 2012 |
In the stories of South of No North, Charles Bukowski makes drinking, gambling, job-hating, living in fleabag dives, drunken sex, vomiting, agonizing over women, and agonizing over not writing (“hours of sitting in a chair in the middle of a room, run through and stricken”) seem almost romantic.

These are brutally funny stories. Bukowski’s alter ego Henry Chinaski narrates most of them. A magazine editor to Chinaski:
“I want you to interview this bitch who married the cannibal. Make the sex BIG. Mix love with horror, you know?” “I know. I’ve been doing it all my life.”

On his pessimistic view of life:
“I keep remembering the female who screamed at me: ‘You’re so god damned negative! Life can be beautiful!’
I suppose it can, and especially with a little less screaming.”

Speaking of pessimism, Chinaski on tourists in Avalon on Catalina Island: “square white rotting bodies, and striped shorts, eyeless eyes and mouthless mouths, they walked along, very colorful, as if color might wake up death and turn it into life.”

Chinaski is no less hard on himself: “Hospitals and jails and whores: these are the universities of life. I’ve got several degrees.”

These are searing stories that don’t hold back. More Chinaski on life: “We didn’t want much and couldn’t get that.” ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 3, 2011 |
Taken as a whole I didn't enjoy this collection of shorts as much as Hot Water Music. Maybe I'm remembering HWM wrong but there seemed much more smut and self-aggrandizing in South of No North (the story where Chinaski beats up Hemmingway in a boxing match and scores with Thomas Wolfe's hot girlfriend being the most ludicrous, but funny, example of this).

True, the smut does become less prominent as the collection goes on (no more stories about men having sex with mannequins) and that's when Bukowski's writing starts to shine. All these stories might be about drunk writers and their "whores" but there's real emotion in Bukowski's writing and when he's at his best it can touch a raw nerve. It's just a shame you have to dig deep under all the sex and booze to find something worthwhile. ( )
  DRFP | Jun 8, 2011 |
Brilliant. ( )
  MColv9890 | May 13, 2011 |
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