Women [NOOK Book]

Overview

Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.

With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark ...

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Women

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Overview

Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.

With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061863769
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 78,182
  • File size: 665 KB

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

Women


By Charles Bukowski

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Charles Bukowski
All right reserved.



Chapter One

I was 50 years old and hadn't been to bed with a woman for four years. I had no women friends. I looked at them as I passed them arning and with a sense of futility. I masturbateda regularly, but the idea of having a relationship with a woman even on non-sexual terms-was beyond my imagination. I had a 6 year old daughter born out of wedlock. She lived with her mother and I paid child support. I had been married years before at the age Of 35. That marriage lasted two and one half years. My wife divorced me. I had been in love only once. She had died of acute alcoholism. She died at 48 when I was 38. My wife had been 12 years younger than I. I believe that she too is dead now, although I'm not sure. She wrote me a long letter each Christmas for 6 years after the divorce. I never responded....

I'm not sure when I first saw Lydia Vance. It was about 6 years ago and I had just quit a twelve year job as a postal clerk and was trying to be a writer. I was terrified and drank more than ever. I was attempting my first novel. I drank a pint of whiske and two six packs of beer each night while writing. I smoked chyeap cigars and typed and drank and listened to classical music on the radio until dawn. I set a goal of ten pages a night but I never knew until the next day how many pages I had written. I'd et up in the morning, vomit, then walk to the front room andglook on the couch to see how many pages werethere. I always exceeded my ten. Sometimes there were 17, 18, 23, 25 pages. Of course, the work of each night had to be cleaned up or thrown away. It took me twenty-one nights to write my first novel.

The owners of the court where I then lived, who lived in the back, thought I was crazy. Each morning when I awakened there would be a large brown paper bag on the porch. The contents varied but mostly the bags contained tomatoes, radishes, oranges, green onions, cans of soup, red onions. I drank beer with them every other night until 4 or 5 AM. The old man would pass out and the old lady and I would hold hands and I'd kiss her now and then. I always gave her a big one at the door. She was terribly wrinkled but she couldn't help that. She was Catholic and looked cute when she put on her pink hat and went to church on Sunday morning.

I think I met Lydia Vance at my first poetry reading. It was at a bookstore on Kenmore Ave., The Drawbridge. Again, I was terrified. Superior yet terrified. When I walked in there was standing room only. Peter, who ran the store and was living with a black girl, had a pile of cash in front of him. "Shit, he said to me, "if I could always pack them in like this I'd have enough money to take another trip to India!" I walked in and they began applauding. As far as poetry readings were concerned, I was about to bust my cherry.

I read 30 minutes then called a break. I was still sober and I could feel the eyes staring at me from out of the dark. A few people came up atid talked to me. Then during a lull Lydia Vance walked up. I was sitting at a table drinking beer. She put both hands on the edge of the table, bent over and looked at me. She had long brown hair, quite long, a prominent nose, and one eye didn't quite match the other- But she projected vitality-you knew that she was there. I could feel vibrations running between us. Some of the vibrations were confused and were not good but they were there.

She looked at me and I looked back. Lydia Vance had on a suede cowgirl jacket with a fringe around the neck. Her breasts were good. I told her, "I'd like to rip that fringe off your jacket-we could begin there!" Lydia walked off. It hadn't worked. I never knew what to say to the ladies. But she had a behind. I watched that beautiful behind as she walked away. The seat of her blue-jeans cradled it and I watched it as she walked away.

I finished the second half of the reading and forgot about Lydia

just as I forgot about the women I passed on the sidewalks. I took my money, signed some napkins, some pieces of paper, then left, and drove back home.

I was still working each n ight on the first novel. I never started writing until 6: 18 Pm. That was when I used to punch in at the Terminal Annex Post Office. It was 6 Pm when they arrived: Peter and Lydia Vance. I opened the door. Peter said, "Look, Henry, look what I brought you!"

Lydia jumped up on the coffee table. Her bluejeans fit tighter than ever. She flung her long brown hair from side to side. She was insane; she was miraculous. For the first time I considered the possibility of actually making love to her. She began reciting poetry. Her own. It was very bad. Peter tried to stop her, "No! No! No rhyming poetry in Henry Chinaski's house!

"Let her go, Peter!"

I wanted to watch her buttocks. She strode up and down that old coffee table. Then she danced. She waved her arms. The poetry was terrible, the body and the madness weren't.

Lydia jumped down.

"How'd you like it, Henry.

"What?"

"The poetry."

"Hardly."

Lydia stood there with her sheets of poetry in her hand. Peter grabbed her. "Let's fuck!" he said to her. "Come on, let's fuck!"

She pushed him off.

"All right," Peter said. "Then I'm leaving!"

"So leave. I've got my car," Lydia said. "I can get back to my place. "

Peter ran to the door. He stopped and turned. "All right, Chinaski! Don't forget what I brought you!"

He slammed the door and was gone. Lydia sat down on the couch, near the door. I sat about a foot away from her. I looked at her. She looked marvelous. I was afraid. I reached out and touched her long hair. The hair was magic. I pulled my hand away. "Is all that hair really yours?" I asked. I knew it was. "Yes," she said, "it is." I put my hand under her chin and very awkwardly I tried to turn her head toward mine. I was not confident in these situations. I kissed her lightly.



Continues...

Excerpted from Women by Charles Bukowski Copyright © 2007 by Charles Bukowski. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(47)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Ugly. And Proud of it.

    I enjoyed this novel. Though it's thick, I found it an easy read, the type of book that I could dip into at any time. The structure of this novel is odd or unconventional in that at first it seems repetitive, this happens then that, with women entering and leaving his life. But somehow you grow used to it. It's almost like a compilation of episodes that often don't lead anywhere but allow you to understand the protagonist who's obviously Bukowski. I'll say it's pretty funny too. Bukowski's sense of humor is blunt and often dirty, which I kind of appreciate. In a way I was reminded me of another recent novel I read, Permanent Obscurity by Richard Perez. Both books have a raw and ugly style, both quite funny. Bukowski's Women ends with Henry, the main character losing control a little. The portrait is deadly honest, and I know a lot of people who might consider him an A-hole, but that's exactly why he's interesting: you don't often see his kind in fiction. Bukowski does nothing to cover up the fact that he's a bit of a monster. So the end result is a realistic portrait. Anyway, I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to others.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 6, 2011

    Bukowski

    Can do no wrong

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2003

    THE MOST AMAZING BOOK EVER!!!

    Never has a book affected my life so drastically. The characters were fascinating yet eerily realistic....I could relate so intensely. This book brought tears of joy and sorrow to my eyes, yet I have never laughed so hard in my life. I definitely recommend it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Horrid!

    This is one guy's sick fantasy world and a horrible depiction of women. Nothing funny or poetic about it. Simply disgusting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    I am a real fan of Bukowski but...

    This book is absolutely boring, pointless and plotless.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    I am a longtime fan of Bukowski's writing, but fix the typo's pl

    I am a longtime fan of Bukowski's writing, but fix the typo's please
    !....I can't enjoy a story while reading around multiple errors.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    a great place to start

    I didn't know Charles Bukowski existed until a month ago. I had read Fante's 'Ask the Dust' and after I'd read the prefece (written by Bukowski) I thought, What a voice! Bukowski must have novels out there. And he does. Many of them. One of them is 'Women.' I read it, I liked it, and I will be reading more of Bukowski. I've read 'Pulp' and am currently reading 'Post Office.' What I liked about 'Women' is that it's honest. It's not fancy and it's not 'literary' it's just a good fun story about a mediocre poet and his sexual exploits. It's also a good commentary on the writing life. If you've never read any Bukowski, this may be a good place to start. Bukowski is raw and uninhibited he speaks from the heart. He doesn't care what the critics think of him, either. This is good. Thanks, Mr Bukowski, for laying it down and telling us the way you see things.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2004

    The Brilliant Bukowski!

    Bukowski's depiction of a man on the brink of madness and the equally insane relationships he has with women is borderline genius. Henry Chinaski, the protagonist, is a man in love with not only his freedom, but himself, and this creates a problem when bouncing from one dysfuntional relationship to another. Great read. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Brilliance

    When I read this book it opened up a new out look on women. Bukowski tells it from where its at

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    To HELP

    Ok is this the first time you have your period?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Read it

    Omgg thiss book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This novel lives up to its title. It was interesting, focused o

    This novel lives up to its title. It was interesting, focused on the young woman that came in and out of an old drunk writers life because he hit a high point of his writing career. The descriptions of sex is very detailed and at times funny.<br />
    <br />
    Review written by Author and screenwriter Curt Wiser

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2009

    Incredible Book

    Reading this book is like accomplishing life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    i enjoy all of bukowski. his characters are hilarious.

    this if an autobiography and it certainly depicts a life that for the most part i would not care to live.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2004

    pretty good

    This one is really episodic and has no real plot except Chinaski sleeping with all these women he never would have gotten if he hadn't become famous. But the descriptions of the women are great- kind of misogynistic sometimes but, heh, that's Bukowski for you. And anyway, he would be real misogynist when he drank just for show but I don't think he meant any of it, none of the women he was with (in this book and real life) certainly never complained and sometimes dominated him in the relationship anyways.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    Underrated Brilliance

    Women is one of Buk's best. His seedy experiences and troubles with the opposite sex are gut-wrenchingly honest. Check out the modern-day Bukowski, Chad Dean.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2004

    Vulgar, Dysfunctional, Disturbing

    I loved it! I read it in an afternoon. It's a book that will make you laugh out loud. Fast paced story,straight forward, bizzare, always entertaining. Chinaski is a runaway train.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2003

    Hilarious...

    Buk's writing makes you feel like your sitting right there with him along for the ride. His experiences with these crazy women had me laughing for hours. Entertaining & fun, you'll definitely read the whole book in one sitting!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2003

    A LITERARY TRIUMPH

    Bukowski's look into the insane reality of man and woman relationships is both disturbing and full of truth. From the friendly and pure 'girl next door' to his encounters with the alcoholic and criminally insane, Bukowski paints a portrait that all can appreciate and sympathize. No matter if you are Man or Woman, married or single, everyone can relate to a specific part of this work. Truly one of Bukowski's greatest works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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