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post office: A Novel by Charles Bukowski
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post office: A Novel (original 1971; edition 2007)

by Charles Bukowski

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3,742481,393 (3.95)55
Member:megaroo323
Title:post office: A Novel
Authors:Charles Bukowski
Info:Ecco (2007), Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
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Work details

Post Office by Charles Bukowski (1971)

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English (44)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (48)
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Henry Chinaski is a heavy drinking, womanising, race track frequenting low-life, who works at the post office. The story follows his menial existence of twelve-hour night shifts, sorting post, delivering mail, observing his fellow colleagues and facing countless disciplinary measures, for offences such as missing work and refusing to follow protocol.

Chinaski’s free time consists of alcohol consumption, an infatuation with the horses and relationships, both casual and long term, with a succession of women, including Betty; a tragic, divorced alcoholic, as well as the nymphomaniac, parakeet owning, independently wealthy Joyce, and a war protesting hippy, a liaison that results in a daughter.

This, Bukowski’s first novel, is an autobiographical account of the period in his life prior to writing Post Office. His trademark visceral literary style and economy of the written word is in evidence throughout, as he adroitly describes the banality, hardship and dehumanisation of unskilled drudgery. Utilising a brutal, blunt and fast-paced narrative, replete with black humour, Post Office is at times sad and poignant.

Though Chinaski is a loathsome, repugnant creature, with a cynical outlook, vulgar and seedy habits, misogynistic attitudes, and an unrelenting craving for the most base urges, the reader is able to identify with him, due to his inherent humanness and unerring ability not to seek pity, in the face of what is ultimately a lonely and largely unrewarding existence. ( )
1 vote guyportman | Apr 7, 2014 |
Great for disgruntled employees everywhere. Is it any wonder that so many postal workers went nuts and started killing people? ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |
I first read this book as a late teen or early twen who didn’t know sh!t about the kind of scene Charles Bukowski (“laureate of American lowlife”, according to Time) was describing, and about the full consequences of alcoholism he suffered through, more or less happily (in his individual case, despite the never-ending hangovers).

(Although I got a hint around at age 20: During my first trip to Los Angeles, I stayed at the Huntington Hotel on downtown L.A.’s skid row. A budget travel guide described it as “shabby, but safe”. I paid about $6 a night for a single room. The bed cover had burn marks, the carpet was non-existent on the trail to the bed – you saw the wooden floor –, and instead of a curtain, plastic shopping bags had been taped to the window.
But it was was safe: Non-residents were not allowed to enter the Hungtington Hotel by the receptionist. He had to buzz everybody through.)

I am digressing. ;-)

I just revisited “Post Office” via Harper Collins’ audio book version which I bought at emusic, appropriately read by Christian Baskous.

Charles Bukowski’s ramblings haven’t aged well (IMHO). If you know his personal background and the story behind “Post Office” (his first novel), you will enjoy his aimlessly realistic prose as much as I did the second time around.

If you don’t, start somewhere else. ;-)

Wikipedia on "Post Office"
emusic audio book download
1 vote pjebsen | Sep 12, 2013 |
This is a quirky account of the author's work experience written in a manner that is pure Bukowski. What I love about this book is that the truth underlying the fiction is just as true today as it was at the time it was written. Despite the fact that the book is decades old, we still make similar career mistakes and still fumble through making a living inside of dysfunctional environments.

The best part of this book is the opening line (one of my all-time favorites):
"It began as a mistake."

I think all of us have felt that about one job or another. ( )
1 vote Neftzger | Aug 5, 2013 |
Don't get the Bukowskistas, nor their figurehead. ( )
  KidSisyphus | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061177571, Paperback)

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve 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 morning 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 co-workers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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