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3.9 16
by Charles Bukowski

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Opening with the exotic Lady Death entering the gumshoe-writer's seedy office in pursuit of a writer named Celine, this novel demonstrates Bukowski's own brand of humour and realism, opening up a landscape of seamy Los Angeles.


Opening with the exotic Lady Death entering the gumshoe-writer's seedy office in pursuit of a writer named Celine, this novel demonstrates Bukowski's own brand of humour and realism, opening up a landscape of seamy Los Angeles.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Always the iconoclast striving for a kind of literary raunch, the internationally acclaimed Bukowski ( Ham on Rye ), who died recently, leaves us with this spoof of the hardboiled detective genre, featuring an L.A.-based private investigator named Nick Belane. As the title makes clear, this novel is dedicated to bad writing, and readers who choose to ignore this warning and plunge ahead will soon know why. A spoof should be funnier and sharper than what it is spoofing but, compared to Hammett and Chandler, Pulp is quite simply trash. In the opening pages, Belane is paid a visit by a lady in red named Lady Death, who turns out to be death itself looking for the French author Celine, who should have died a long time ago but hasn't. Belane's search for Celine leads him to some space aliens who have assumed human shape, and to some juvenile encounters with an unhappily married couple. Along the way, every woman he meets is a dish, and every man is a dumb thug. In every bar he visits, Belane is mistaken for somebody else, a mistake which invariably erupts in a murderous brawl. The prose is practically nonexistent, and you can forget character. All that's left is humor and philosophy, but Belane's humor is all bathroom and his philosophy can be summed up in the lines, ``I wasn't dead yet, just in a state of rapid decay. Who wasn't?'' Bukowski has taken the worst of the PI genre, stripped it bare, and added nothing but a dose of adolescent posturing. It's sad thatBukowski has left as his parting gesture a book so weak and thin. (June)
Library Journal
This is a darkly humorous takeoff of private eye novels, replete with the recently deceased Bukowski's usual scatalogical unpleasantries. Nick Belane, a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Los Angeles detective who charges $6 per hour, is swatting flies in his office when in walks a ``glorious dizziness of flesh'' who introduces herself as Lady Death. She wants Belane to verify that a man she spotted in a bookstore is the long-dead writer Cline. The ``real Cline,'' she says, ``not just some half-assed wannabe. There are too many of those.'' He accepts the job, which, of course, takes him to every gin mill in the city. He's also hired to locate something called the Red Sparrow, to tail a cheating wife, and to investigate a voluptuous space alien named Jeannie Nitro who's been harassing a wimpy mortician and occupying his customers. All four cases, of course, dovetail into an existential nightmare. There are some truly funny moments, but many will find Bukowski's raw, ugly side repulsive and his negativity unbearable. Recommended for large literature collections.-Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Society, Ohio
The late poet, novelist, and (spare the expression) man of letters, Charles Bukowski, is said to have left many books-worth of material in the can (so to speak), but this characteristically gritty piece of Bukowskiana is no patchwork, and was complete and in production at the time of his death. All of Bukowski will one day be essential to every collection--and never cheaper than now. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.52(d)

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Chapter One

I was sitting in my office, my lease had expired and McKelvey was starting eviction proceedings. It was a hellish hot day and the air conditioner was broken. A fly crawled across the top of my desk. I reached out with the open palm of my hand and sent him out of the game. I wiped my hand on my right pants leg as the phone rang.

I picked it up. "Ah yes," I said.

"Do you read Celine?" a female voice asked. Her voice sounded quite sexy. I had been lonely for some time. Decades.

"Celine," I said, "ummm".

"I want Celine," she said. "I've got to have him."

Such a sexy voice, it was getting to me, really.

"Celine?" I said. "Give me a little background. Talk to me, lady. Keep talking .

"Zip up," she said.

I looked down.

"How did you know?" I asked.

"Never mind. I want Celine."

"Celine is dead."

"He isn't. I want you to find him. I want him."

"I might find his bones."

"No, you fool, he's alive!"


"Hollywood. I hear he's been hanging around Red Koldowsky's bookstore."

"Then why don't you find him?"

"Because first I want to know if he's the real Celine. I'; have to be sure, quite sure. "

"But why did you come to me? There are a hundred dicks in this town."

"John Barton recommended you."

"Oh, Barton, yeah. Well, listen, I'll have to have some kind of advance. And I'll have to see you personally."

"I'll be there in a few minutes," she said.

She hung up. I zipped up.

And waited.

Pulp. Copyright © byCharles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Charles Bukowski 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 two. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for over fifty years. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

Brief Biography

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

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Pulp 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
absolutely outstanding prose with B.'s unique sense of humour which has ripened through his life of 'ordinary madness' to something that is almost unbelievable, a bible to everyone who has doubt about the point of his life down here on earth. (if this is gonna be your your first book by B. try to begin with something else e.g. factotum, south of north, notes of a dirty old man or B.'s poetry because it's his work that makes genuine art of 'pulp')
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love reading Bukowski. This was an enjoyable and easy read.. but a bit far from what I have come to enjoy about Bukowski. Recommend reading other Bukowski novels first before reading this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was Charles Bukowski's last novel. I guess he wrote it over the span of a couple of years, and took at least one hiatus from writing it. This is reflected in a somewhat disjointed plot. But it's actually quite a fun and readable novel. It's short too.You could easily read this whole novel in a few hours. It got me interested in more of Bukowski's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read if you like film noir
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JoeClark More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books of all time, and one of the only books that has ever had me laughing out loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moira Rose More than 1 year ago
This book (his last before his death) is so different from his others in a wonderful way.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Someone recommended Bukowski to me, and this happened to be the first book I picked up. End of story. I did not put it down until 2 and half hours later when I closed the back cover. A hilarious play on the old gangster stories found in 'pulp' comics of the earlier century. The inter-woven elements of satire, supernatural and and plain cynicism, make this a great read. Looking forward to his other work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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