Hollywood

( 11 )

Overview

Hank and his wife, Sarah, agree to write a screenplay, and encounter the strange world of the movie industry.

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Hollywood

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Overview

Hank and his wife, Sarah, agree to write a screenplay, and encounter the strange world of the movie industry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bukowski The Roominghouse Madrigals has written over 30 books of poetry and fiction in which he uses the persona of the artistic bum with reasonable success. In this flimsy novel, Henry Chinaski is asked to write a screenplay, and thus Bukowski continues his thinly disguised autobiography Bukowski himself wrote the screenplay for the recent, self-referential Barfly . When all the Hollywood types Chinaski encounters--directors, lawyers, producers, actors, actresses--fit the same drunken-outcast-but-artistic-genius mold, Bukowski seems to have exhausted his resourcefulness. His characters lose their individuality and the novel lacks force and perspective. This book deteriorates into juvenile satire in which familiar, real-life figures appear with the letters of their names shifted slightly: the famous director Jon-Luc Modard, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sanrah, Frances Ford Lopalla and an obvious Norman Mailer stand-in called Victor Norman. May
Library Journal
In this hilarious roman a clef, Bukowski draws on his experiences while writing the script for the 1987 film Barfly. Henry Chinaski, the author's alter ego in the film, here returns to write--despite misgivings--a Hollywood screenplay, The Dance of Jim Beam. The film is based on Chinaski's early life as a barfly and brawler, before he became a famous author. As he and his companion Sarah are caught up in the Hollywood whirlwind, Bukowski satirizes a host of well-known movie personalities. While Bukowski fans will welcome the reappearance of Chinaski, with his penchant for booze, women, and horse racing, film buffs should enjoy the novel for its delightful and irreverent portrayal of Hollywood. Highly recommended.-- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780876857632
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 178,425
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.93 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowsk is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

Biography

During the course of his long, prolific literary career, Charles Bukowski was known as a poet, novelist, short story writer, and journalist. But it is as a cult figure, an "honorary beat" who chronicled his notorious lifestyle in raw, unflinching poetry and prose, that he is best remembered. Born in the aftermath of World War I to a German mother and an American serviceman of German descent, he was brought to the U.S. at the age of three and raised in Los Angeles. By all accounts, his childhood was lonely and unhappy: His father beat him regularly, and he suffered from debilitating shyness and a severely disfiguring case of acne. By his own admission, he underwent a brief flirtation with the far right, associating as a teenager with Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. After high school, he attended Los Angeles City College for two years, studying art, literature, and journalism before dropping out.

Although two of his stories were published in small literary magazines while he was still in his early 20s, Bukowski became discouraged by his lack of immediate success and gave up writing for ten years. During this time he drifted around the country, working odd jobs; fraternizing with bums, hustlers, and whores; and drinking so excessively that he nearly died of a bleeding ulcer.

In the late 1950s, Bukowski returned to writing, churning out copious amounts of poetry and prose while supporting himself with mind-numbing clerical work in the post office. Encouraged and mentored by Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, he finally quit his job in 1969 to concentrate on writing full time. In 1985, he married his longtime girlfriend Linda Lee Beighle. Together they moved to San Pedro, California, where Bukowski began to live a saner, more stable existence. He continued writing until his death from leukemia in 1994, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

Bukowski mined his notorious lifestyle for an oeuvre that was largely autobiographical. In literally thousands of poems, he celebrated the skid row drunks and derelicts of his misspent youth; and, between 1971 and 1989, he penned five novels (Post Office, Factotum, Women, Ham on Rye, and Hollywood) featuring Henry Chinaski, an alcoholic, womanizing, misanthrope he identified as his literary alter ego. (He also wrote the autobiographical screenplay for the 1987 film Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway.) Yet, for all the shock value of his graphic language and violent, unlovely images, Bukowski's writing retains a startling lyricism. Today, years after his death, he remains one of the 20th century's most influential and widely imitated writers.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      August 16, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Andernach, Germany
    1. Date of Death:
      March 9, 1994
    2. Place of Death:
      San Pedro, California
    1. Education:
      Los Angeles City College, 2 years

Read an Excerpt

Hollywood

Chapter One

A couple of days later Pinchot phoned. He said he wanted to go ahead with the screenplay. We should come down and see him?

So we got the directions and were in the Volks and heading for Marina del Rey. Strange territory.

Then we were down at the harbor, driving past the boats. Most of them were sailboats and people were fiddling about on deck. They were dressed in their special sailing clothes, caps, dark shades. Somehow, most of them had apparently escaped the daily grind of living. They had never been caught up in that grind and never would be. Such were the rewards of the Chosen in the land of the free. After a fashion, those people looked silly to me. And, of course, I wasn't even in their thoughts.

We turned right, down from the docks and went past streets laid out in alphabetical order, with fancy names. We found the street, turned left, found the number, pulled into the driveway. The sand came right up to us and the ocean was close enough to be seen and far enough away to be safe. The sand seemed cleaner than other sand and the water seemed bluer and the breeze seemed kinder.

"Look," I said to Sarah, "we have just landed upon the outpost of death. My soul is puking."

"Will you stop worrying about your soul?" Sarah responded.

No need to lock the Volks. I was the only one who could start it.

We were at the door. I knocked.

It opened to this tall slim delicate type, you smelled artistry all over him. You could see he had been born to Create, to Create grand things, totally unhindered, never bothered by such petty things as toothache, self-doubt, lousy luck. He wasone of those who looked like a genius. I looked like a dishwasher so these types always pissed me just a bit.

"We're here to pick up the dirty laundry," I said.

"Ignore him," Sarah interspersed. "Pinchot suggested we come by."

"Ewe," said the gentleman, "do come in ..."

We followed him and his little rabbit cheeks. He stopped then, at some special edge, he was charming, and he spoke over his left shoulder as if the entire world were listening to his delicate proclamation:

"I go get my VOD-KA now!"

He flashed off into the kitchen.

"Jon mentioned him the other night," said Sarah. "He is Paul Renoir. He writes operas and is also working in a form known as the Opera-Movie. Very avant-garde."

"He may be a great man but I don't want him sucking at my ear lobes."

"Oh, stop being so defensive! Everybody can't be like you!"

"I know. That's their problem."

"Your greatest strength," said Sarah, "is that you fear everything."

"I wish I had said that."

Paul walked back with his drink. It looked good. There was even a bit of lime in there and he stirred it with a little glass stick. A swizzle. Real class.

"Paul," I asked, "is there anything else to drink in there?"

"Ewe, sorry", he said, "please do help yourself!"

I charged into the kitchen right upon the heels of Sarah. There were bottles everywhere. While we were deciding, I cracked a beer.

"We better lay off the hard stuff," suggested my good lady. "You know how you get when you're drinking that."

"Right. Let's go with the wine."

I found a corkscrew and got a bottle of fine-looking red.

We each had a good hit. Then we refilled our glasses and walked out. At one time I used to refer to Sarah and me as Zelda and Scott, but that bothered her because she didn't like the way Zelda had ended up. And I didn't like what Scott had typed. So, we had abandoned our sense of humor there.

Paul Renoir was at the large picture window checking out the Pacific.

"Jon is late," he said to the picture window and the ocean, "but he told me to tell you that he will be right along and to please stay.

"O.K., baby ..."

Sarah and I sat down with our drinks. We faced the rabbit cheeks. He faced the sea. He appeared to be musing.

"Chinaski," he said, "I have read much of your work. It is wild shit. You are very good ..."

"Thank you. But we know who is really the best. You're the best."

"Ewe," he said as he continued to face the sea, "it is very very nice of you to ... realize that ... "

The door opened and a young girl with long black hair walked in without knocking. Next thing we knew she was stretched out up on the back of the sofa, lengthwise, like a cat.

"I'm Popppy," she said, "with 4 p's."

I had a relapse: "We're Scott and Zelda."

"Cut the shit!" said Sarah.

I gave our proper names.

Paul turned from the sea.

"Popppy is one of the backers of your screenplay."

"I haven't written a word," I said.

"You will ..."

"Would you, please?" I looked at Sarah and held up my empty glass.

Sarah was a good girl. She left with the glass. She knew that if I went in there I would start in on sundry bottles and then start in on my way to being nasty.

I would learn later that another name for Popppy was "The Princess from Brazil." And for starters she had kicked in ten grand. Not much. But it paid for some of the rent and some of the drinks.

The Princess looked at me from her cat-like position on the back of the couch.

"I've read your stuff. You're very funny."

"Thank you."

Then I looked over at Paul. "Hey, baby, did you hear that? I'm funny!"

"You deserve," he said, "a certain place."

He flashed toward the kitchen again as Sarah passed him with our refills. She sat down next to me and I had a hit.

The thought then occurred to me that I could just bluff the screenplay and sit around Marina del Rey for months sucking up drinks. Before I could really savor that thought, the door burst open and there was Jon Pinchot.

"Ali, you came by!"

"Ewe," I said.

"I think I have a backer! All you have to do is write it."

"It might take a few months."

"But, of course ..."

Then Paul was back. He had a strange pink-looking drink for the Princess.

Pinchot flashed toward the kitchen for one of his own.

It was the first of many meetings which would simply dissolve into bouts of heavy drinking, especially on my part. I found it to be a needed build-up for my confidence as I was really only interested in the poem and the short story. Writing a screenplay seemed to me an ultimately stupid thing to do. But better men than I had been trapped into such a ridiculous act.

Jon Pinchot came out with his drink, sat down.

It became a long night. We talked and talked, about what I was not sure. Finally both Sarah and I had drunk too much to be able to drive back. We were kindly offered a bedroom.

It was in that bedroom, in the dark, as we poured a last good red wine, Sarah asked me, "You going to write a screenplay?"

"Hell no," I answered.

Hollywood. Copyright © by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    If you need to increase your store of obscenities or your acquin

    If you need to increase your store of obscenities or your acquintance with sleazy characters, pick up this disjointed book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Great

    Very entertaining. Easy to read. And the plot pacing is excellent. Charles Bukowski is the real deal.

    The actual movie he is writing about in this novel is Barfly which starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is incredably entertaining. Under the guise of fictio

    This book is incredably entertaining. Under the guise of fiction it gives you a behind the scenes look and filmmaking and the development process. There are a few chapters that feel forced and out of place because it is just &quot;Chinanski&quot; at the race track. Other then that I would give it five stars, it shows both the joy and pain of being a writer.<br />
    <br />
    Review from Curt Wiser the Author of Box Cutter Killer




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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    A Must Read

    Hollywood, in my opinion, is Charles Bukowski at his best. Hollywood seethes with anger and disgust at the society American pop culture had begun to create, but does so in a fair and highly entertaining light. Bukowski's immense talent as a novelist is evident throughout the book, during which you may very well find yourself laughing hysterically on one page and close to tears on the next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    Expected Better

    I read this book for my summer english class and expected it to be better. My teacher went in depth with Bukowski's work, which got me pumped to read this. I feel this is not Bukowski's best work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    The great 'Buk' strikes again

    I think it's very intertaining, Chinansky finds himself being the person he hates the most. A Hollywood writter....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2003

    Good for the Oscars

    I re-read Hollywood after watching the Oscars this year; it's a great cure for Hollywood fluff and slickness. It's not Bukowski at his best, but it's still good. It's a quick fun read full of Bukowski's usual quirky characters. It's a great companion to Barfly--the movie Bukowski wrote and that Hollywood recounts the making of.

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    Posted August 1, 2011

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    Posted July 7, 2010

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    Posted June 15, 2011

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    Posted November 11, 2010

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    Posted May 2, 2011

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