Tales of Ordinary Madness

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Overview

With Bukowski, the votes are still coming in. There seems to be no middle ground—people seem either to love him or hate him. Tales of his own life and doings are as wild and weird as the very stories he writes. In a sense, Bukowski was a legend in his time . . . a madman, a recluse, a lover . . . tender, vicious . . . never the same . . . these are exceptional stories that come pounding out of his violent and depraved life . . . horrible and holy, you cannot read them and ever ...

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Overview

With Bukowski, the votes are still coming in. There seems to be no middle ground—people seem either to love him or hate him. Tales of his own life and doings are as wild and weird as the very stories he writes. In a sense, Bukowski was a legend in his time . . . a madman, a recluse, a lover . . . tender, vicious . . . never the same . . . these are exceptional stories that come pounding out of his violent and depraved life . . . horrible and holy, you cannot read them and ever come away the same again.

Reprint of Part 1 of "Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872861558
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 313,395
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920 and brought to Los Angeles at age three. Using the city as a backdrop for his work, Bukowski wrote prolifically, publishing over fifty volumes of poetry and prose. He died in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994. His books are widely translated and posthumous volumes continue to appear.

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

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2000

    Anything but Ordinary

    In TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS Charles Bukowski does what very few can. He finds the poetry in real people who live miserable lives in miserable conditions, mostly by their own doing. There is very little to recommend in these characters. Like Bukowski, most of them are unemployed drunks, dirty old men, sexual degenerates, and morally stripped souls. They form a subculture that perpetuates and sustains itself as long as the liquor keeps flowing (and it does), the women keep giving (and they do ... and do), and the men continue indulging (and they do ... and do ... and do). And yet, the reader is transfixed. For better or worse (usually worse), the reader chooses to enter Bukowski's world, takes a perverse delight in the goings-on, lingers and tarries, knowing that he or she can escape from the pits of hell at will, revisiting when the urge strikes. Better yet, there is no hangover in the morning. TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS is a collection of short stories, united by themes of desperation, loneliness, dead-end jobs, sexual perversion, and a need for real connection in an alienated, disturbed world. In these stories there is truly something of the profane and sacred, irreverent and holy, indifferent and feeling. The stories stay with one long after the reading is over. Bukowski's writing style is as nonconforming as his person. He doesn't always adhere to the rules of syntax, but this only serves to visibly, or tangibly, underscore the more abstract originality of the stories and situations themselves. Bukowski isn't for everyone. The writing is fierce, sexually explicit, unforgiving, and yet so totally true to the characters and their lives that it never seems overdone, affected, false. Through his words, Bukowski manages to transform the ordinary into something great.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 22, 2009

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    Posted February 15, 2009

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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