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Factotum by Charles Bukowski
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Factotum (original 1975; edition 2002)

by Charles Bukowski (Author)

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3,203394,202 (3.83)29
One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next. Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.… (more)
Member:Alfred.Faltiska
Title:Factotum
Authors:Charles Bukowski (Author)
Info:Ecco (2002), 208 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:to-read

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Factotum by Charles Bukowski (1975)

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English (33)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Polish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I went into this book without reading any synopsis or reviews on it, and i'm so glad i did. I love love love this style of writing. Laughed many times throughout this book, great trip through a day in the life of. Typical person that calls themselves a writer but hasn't actually written anything. :p ( )
  SabethaDanes | Jan 30, 2023 |
First, you should know the definition of factotum - it's an employee who does all kinds of work.

This is Bukowski, it's exactly what you would expect from him. If you've never read anything from this author before, hold on. Actually, I would recommend starting with Ham on Rye before reading this or any of his other novels. ( )
  paroof | Nov 29, 2022 |
Čitava knjiga je sažeta u ove dve rečenice koje su inače citat glavnog junaka ovog dela- Henrija Kinaskog, koji je zapravo sam Čarls Bukovski:
"Odmaram se. Ambicije su mi onemogućene mojom lenjošću."
Faktotum znači uradi sve ili probaj sve. Na žalost glavni junak jeste probao sve, ali nije bio uspešan ni u čemu, svojom i samo svojom krivicom.
Henri Kinaski živi od danas do sutra, nema nikakve ambicije osim da se danonoćno opija. Dane i noći on provodi u opijanju, seksu, klađenju i lenstvovanju. Pokraj njega iz poglavlja u poglavlje promiču poslovi koje on uspešno eskivira, sabotira, odbacuje. Daje otkaze, dobija otkaze. Neki od tih poslova i nisu toliko loši, ali se stiče utisak da on ima problem sa autoritetom i perverzno uživa u tome da razočara čak i one ljude koji su dobri prema njemu. On živi na samom dnu ljudskog taloga, ali na tom dnu se nalazi svojom krivicom, a ne krivicom društvenog sistema.
Naposletku se moram zapitati koja je poenta ove zbirke priča? Mislim da odgovor leži u tome da je Čarls Bukovski pisao ove priče za novine i časopise kako bi tu i tamo kljucnuo po neki dolar kada ih i ako ih objave, a Faktotum nije ništa drugo do zbirka tih manje uspešnih priča.

( )
  srdjashin | Nov 14, 2022 |
4,5 stars

A wild ride, never boring, never tiresome, about a man living the American dream, and getting in and out of new jobs on a weekly basis. It has energy and style like Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

It’s a must read if you enjoy dark humor.
( )
  Firons2 | Jan 31, 2021 |
It's hard not to enjoy Bukowski's writing. Like with Hemingway and others, why we find it fascinating to read about the shenanigans of people who struggle to write is beyond me. Is it because secretly anyone who reads wishes they could write? Is this part of Robert M. Hutchins' Great Conversation? I don't know.

Yet while some would suggest that Bukowski is the world's greatest misogynist, he doesn't depict anyone else in this novel any worse than he does himself. His mention of ending it all early in the novel hints at the level of self-deprecation that just didn't seem to come through in my reading of Post Office.

In this novel, I feel Bukowski's sense of dereliction of duty but from a sensitive soul who is otherwise intelligent. The constant references to Debussy and Mahler indicate someone who is far more than the alcoholic bum Bukowski portrays in this novel.

Yet it is believable (I am cutting out my adverbs as I write - Bukowski reminds me of a combination of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, hence my hesitation to add "entirely" - he's either believable or he isn't). The protagonist moves from job to job, surrounded by others who share his sense of despair at the world - a world they are part of yet cannot belong to without giving up their sense of identity.

I identify with Bukowski for this reason. Not so much the "beer-sodden" bum who wanders about aimlessly. But the soul who cannot ever belong but is stuck in present company that somehow can turn off their own bullshit meter sufficiently (damn those adverbs!) to carve out an existence of what is essentially living for somebody else.

I find Bukowski's characters admirable because they give up hope without giving up their freedom. Although Henry Chinaski is made to feel as if he doesn't belong because he is excluded from the World War II draft, he still lives as the intelligent loner who doesn't fit in but is stuck anyway.

But the struggle is admirable. Struggle is what we were put on this earth to do. We either struggle against what we do not want, or we struggle for a better life. Henry Chinaski is a drunken no-hoper bum but he gives me hope - hope that I can live as I choose and not how others choose for me. And that is why I enjoy Bukowski's work. ( )
  madepercy | Jan 30, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, “seeing that his work was good.”

—Andre Gide
Dedication
For John & Barbara Martin
First words
I arrived in New Orleans in the rain at 5 o'clock in the morning.
Quotations
"You haven't been busting your ass, Chinaski." I stared down at my shoes for some time. I didn't know what to say. Then I looked at him. "I've given you my time. It's all I've got to give - it's all any man has. And for a pitiful buck and a quarter an hour." "Remember you begged for this job. You said your job was your second home." "...my time so that you can live in your big house on the hill and have all the things that go with it. If anybody has lost anything on this deal, on this arrangement... I've been the loser. Do you understand?"
"A woman is a full-time job. You have to choose your profession."

"I suppose there is an emotional drain."

"Physical too. They want to fuck night and day."

"Get one you like to fuck." "Yes, but if you drink or gamble they think it's a put-down of their love."

"Get one who likes to drink, gamble and fuck."

"Who wants a woman like that?"
Sucking sounds filled the room as my radio played Mahler. I felt as if I were being eaten by a pitiless animal. My pecker rose, covered with spittle and blood. The sight of it threw her into a frenzy. I felt as if I was being eaten alive.

If I come, I thought desperately, I’ll never forgive myself.
It was true that I didn't have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
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One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next. Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.

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