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.