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Ham on Rye PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Ham on Rye
Author: Charles Bukowski
Publisher: Published July 29th 2014 by Ecco (first published September 1982)
ISBN: 9780061177583
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, "Ham on Rye" offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression.

30 review for Ham on Rye

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    So what is a middle-class old woman who seldom drinks and never fights doing reading this book? Enjoying the hell out of it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    I was sixteen, tan, blonde and good looking, catching waves on my yellow surfboard along with all the other surfers, handsome guys and beautiful gals, each and every day that summer. Little did I know this mini-heaven would quickly end and hell would begin in September. Why? My smooth-skinned tan face turned into an acne-filled mess. I suffered pimple by pimple for three years straight; many fat red pimples popping up every day. Oh, yeah, on my forehead, temples, cheeks, jaw, chin and nose. Unli I was sixteen, tan, blonde and good looking, catching waves on my yellow surfboard along with all the other surfers, handsome guys and beautiful gals, each and every day that summer. Little did I know this mini-heaven would quickly end and hell would begin in September. Why? My smooth-skinned tan face turned into an acne-filled mess. I suffered pimple by pimple for three years straight; many fat red pimples popping up every day. Oh, yeah, on my forehead, temples, cheeks, jaw, chin and nose. Unlike Charles Bukowski, my father never beat me as a kid but this was one thing I did have in common with Bukowski – being a teenager with a wicked case of acne. You can read all about his in this novel, Ham and Rye. Bukowski said, “The gods have really put a good shield over me man. I’ve been toughened up at the right time and the right place." Maybe this was part of my own toughening up, those three teenage years of enduring the red face fire of acne. Anyway, this is one of my connections with Bukowski, the king of the hill when it comes to American raw-boned, hard-boiled, tough-guy writers. And this novel of his years as a kid and teenager growing up in a house where he was continually beaten with a leather strap and receiving a torrent of emotional abuses, particularly at the hands of his callous, obsessive father, sets the stage for his alcoholic, hardscrabble adulthood, an adulthood where, other than drinking, his sole refuge from childhood memories of cruelty and his ongoing life on the down-and-out edge was sitting at his typewriter composing poetry and fiction. Ham on Rye. Every single sentence of this book is clear, vivid, sharp and direct, as if the words were bullets shot from a 22 caliber rifle. Here are just a few rounds: ““Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.” Again, “I didn't like anybody in that school. I think they knew that. I think that's why they disliked me. I didn't like the way they walked or looked or talked, but I didn't like my mother or father either. I still had the feeling of being surrounded by white empty space. There was always a slight nausea in my stomach.” And, again. “The best thing about the bedroom was the bed. I liked to stay in bed for hours, even during the day with covers pulled up to my chin. It was good in there, nothing ever occurred in there, no people, nothing.” Ham on Rye. There are funny, belly-laughing scenes and scenes that will make you shudder, scenes that are tender and scenes filled with pain, but through it all, you will stick with Hank Chinaski aka Charles Bukowski, the ultimate tough-guy with the heart of a poet.

  3. 5 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    Δυο βράδια κράτησε αυτό το ταξίδι και είχα την πεποίθηση πως συζητώ αλλά περισσότερο ακούω με απόλυτο σεβασμό για τη ζωή ενός μοναχικού μου φίλου. Τρομερή αμεσότητα και φοβερό ταλέντο προσήλωσης προς τον αποδέκτη των λόγων του. Ακόμη κι αν δεν έχεις σκεφτεί ποτε τη δική του εκδοχή, την απαράλλαχτη γνώμη του ή την κοσμοθεωρία του σε σχέση με την ύπαρξη και την εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου είδους στα σίγουρα θα πειστείς πως ο δικός του οίστρος προς την ματαιότητα ειναι τελικά ο πραγματικός. Λυπήθηκα του Δυο βράδια κράτησε αυτό το ταξίδι και είχα την πεποίθηση πως συζητώ αλλά περισσότερο ακούω με απόλυτο σεβασμό για τη ζωή ενός μοναχικού μου φίλου. Τρομερή αμεσότητα και φοβερό ταλέντο προσήλωσης προς τον αποδέκτη των λόγων του. Ακόμη κι αν δεν έχεις σκεφτεί ποτε τη δική του εκδοχή, την απαράλλαχτη γνώμη του ή την κοσμοθεωρία του σε σχέση με την ύπαρξη και την εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου είδους στα σίγουρα θα πειστείς πως ο δικός του οίστρος προς την ματαιότητα ειναι τελικά ο πραγματικός. Λυπήθηκα τους ανθρώπους και τη μιζέρια τους αλλά δεν ένιωσα καμία απολύτως θλίψη για τον αγαπημένο μου "φίλο" μιας και μέσα από αυτήν την εξομολόγηση της δικής του ζωής όσο τραγικά, οδυνηρά, αστεία,τρυφερά και κυνικά ήταν ολα τα περιστατικά,ο ίδιος ήταν πάντα ο ελεύθερος πολιορκημένος, ο ασυμβίβαστα ενοχικός, ο κυνικός ονειροπόλος,ο σκληρός ιππότης, ο εραστής της ομορφιάς που περιτριγυρίζεται μόνο από ασχήμιες. "....γιατί μια αλήθεια που σου τη λένε για πρώτη φορά μπορεί να ειναι πολύ αστεία. Όταν η αλήθεια κάποιου άλλου ειναι ίδια με τη δική σου την αλήθεια, και ειναι σαν να τη λέει αποκλειστικά σε εσένα,τότε ειναι μεγαλείο ". Συστήνεται ανεπιφύλακτα. Καλή ανάγνωση!! Πολλούς ασπασμούς!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    Up until recently, all I knew about Charles Bukowski was what I learned in one of my all time favorite films, ‘Barfly,’ staring the incomparable Mickey Rourke as our antihero Henry Chinaski. If you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that immediately: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrpTDa... This is a world where everybodys gotta do something, gotta be something... sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do.. that I don't wanna be *** Henry Chinaski is a bit of a Up until recently, all I knew about Charles Bukowski was what I learned in one of my all time favorite films, ‘Barfly,’ staring the incomparable Mickey Rourke as our antihero Henry Chinaski. If you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that immediately: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrpTDa... This is a world where everybodys gotta do something, gotta be something... sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do.. that I don't wanna be *** Henry Chinaski is a bit of a dick. He doesn’t care about you, your causes, your morals, your dignity… he doesn’t give a shit about anything but Henry Chinaski. And I’m not even so sure about that… I know it might sound odd coming from me, but I can totally relate to Henry. Don’t get me wrong, saying I can relate to Henry doesn’t mean that I approve of him and all his bravado, but I can relate. I can relate to his shitty childhood and his asociality and his lack of drive to “be somebody.” I’ll refrain from getting too personal here, but I can say that he can thank his lucky stars for one thing: he wasn’t born a girl. Ham on Rye follows our dear Henry from a childhood scarred by abuse and isolation through the muddy waters of adolescence to young adulthood. He eschews mainstream culture and all that it stands for, and really, who can blame him? By the end, part of me wanted to forget about all of this ‘responsibility’ nonsense and join him at the bar. Why? Because f*ck you. That’s why. Bukowski isn’t for everyone. Actually, let me go out on a limb here and say Bukowski isn’t for most people. But if you’ve been lucky enough to have struggled through childhood and adolescence and come out on the other end a little stronger, a little smarter, a little thicker skinned, then maybe, just maybe, Bukowski is for you. Then again, maybe not. I'm sure Bukowski doesn't give a shit either way, and honestly, neither do I. *** I raise my glass to you, Henry. To you and all my frieeeeennnddds!!!!!!!!!!!(Barfly joke). *** Watch this scene -- when Henry walks over to Wanda, look who he passes at the bar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5OLVi... Wanda: I can't stand people. I hate them. Do you hate them? Henry: No. But I seem to feel better when they're not around...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Update: $1.99 Kindle special today --- Its not for everyone -- but I thought it was fantastic! -- I own it -- and couldn't pull away from it the first time I read it. I'd suggest reading high and low reviews. Then trust your gut! Its 'based' on a true story --but written as a novel. "I had begun to dislike my father. He was always angry about something. Wherever we went he got into arguments with people. But he didn't appear to frighten most people; they just stared at him, calmly, and he became Update: $1.99 Kindle special today --- Its not for everyone -- but I thought it was fantastic! -- I own it -- and couldn't pull away from it the first time I read it. I'd suggest reading high and low reviews. Then trust your gut! Its 'based' on a true story --but written as a novel. "I had begun to dislike my father. He was always angry about something. Wherever we went he got into arguments with people. But he didn't appear to frighten most people; they just stared at him, calmly, and he became more furious. If we ate out, which was seldom, he always found something wrong with the food and sometimes refuse to pay. "There's flyshit in this whipped cream! What the hell kind of place is this?" "I'm sorry, sir, you needn't pay. Just leave." "I'll leave, all right! But I'll be back! I'll burn this god-damned place down! Yep, a real mensch of a father Henry Chinaski had. From a very young age -- Henry was spoon fed...."children are seen and not to be heard". ( one of the more 'kind' things that came out of his father's mouth). "Ham on Rye" alternates between being hilarious and horrendous. The beatings from his father were so awful -- that just saying "this kid survived physical abuse in his insane - crazy dysfunctional household is not enough...( I felt so angry)!!! His father was fucking brutal. The son-of-a-bitch deserved to be locked up for life. So? What was hilarious? Having acne and a gutless submissive mother--who can't stand up for Henry or herself isn't funny.... but Henry's cynicism is often funny... It was very funny ( and cute), when Henry's little classmate, Lila Jane, ( a pretty girl), was proud of her clean pink panties - or blue ones--wanted to offer afternoon 'show and tell' for Henry's pleasure .... however...this was the depression era in America ---Henry wasn't allowed to fulfill his other desires ... so he was often sexually frustrated. ('not' so funny)...but human. The storytelling is wonderful ... It has everything...hitting us with a wide rage of emotions. Terrific coming of age book involving family, school, other kids, teachers, struggles to survive --barely escaping poverty...Henry's anger, aloneness, rebelliousness, soooo much sadness it hurts....but also something beautiful was developing: Henry's love for literature. His time spent in the library reading D.H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis...etc.... 'He did that'!!! Awwww and what a phenomenal writer Charles Bukowski is. I'm aware this book is loosely based on his life story...but I read it as fiction! The humanity in this book is extraordinary!!!!! I loved this book!!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    It is true that Ham on Rye lacks a serious plot. It is also true that Mr. Bukowski writes in a crude, whiskey soaked style. However, the novel makes up for its deficiencies with a well-honed theme on the bullshit realities of middle-class existence and the ugly truth of how our society deals with those who reject that path. Such a novel should necessarily cause the reader to taste a tinge of bile in his or her throat. If you don't finish the book weary and angry, then you missed the point. As to It is true that Ham on Rye lacks a serious plot. It is also true that Mr. Bukowski writes in a crude, whiskey soaked style. However, the novel makes up for its deficiencies with a well-honed theme on the bullshit realities of middle-class existence and the ugly truth of how our society deals with those who reject that path. Such a novel should necessarily cause the reader to taste a tinge of bile in his or her throat. If you don't finish the book weary and angry, then you missed the point. As to the comments below that disparage Mr. Bukowski as a mean-spirited asshole, I ask you to consider four possibilities: 1) you misread his skid row saintliness as something distasteful; 2) you forget that Mr. Bukowski wrote a novel, not a memoir; 3) you judge his offensive comments in a vacuum instead of its time and place; or 4) you are comfortable with the mediocrity shit can of existence that he laments.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Seemita

    Ham on Rye is flanked by sauces of happenstance and its delectability depends on the preferences of one’s reading tongue. Mine, for one, could not bear its sour, unsavoury ingredients. In this bildungsroman, which is semi-autobiographical too, the protagonist, Henry Chinaski loads his bag of dilemma and expletives, and throws its weight around with nonchalance and non-disruptive disdain. The backdrop of the Great Depression, fuels the negative sentiments and Chinaski finds its shackles, throughou Ham on Rye is flanked by sauces of happenstance and its delectability depends on the preferences of one’s reading tongue. Mine, for one, could not bear its sour, unsavoury ingredients. In this bildungsroman, which is semi-autobiographical too, the protagonist, Henry Chinaski loads his bag of dilemma and expletives, and throws its weight around with nonchalance and non-disruptive disdain. The backdrop of the Great Depression, fuels the negative sentiments and Chinaski finds its shackles, throughout the novel, difficult to break away from. This was my first Bukowski and it didn’t go entirely uneventful, thankfully. His brazenness and indifference met in a heady concoction, sending a mild swagger across the reading eye. His treatment of his family, friends, school, job and life at large, wasn’t without a stream of empathy which was successfully evoked with some explosive arrangement of words. Of his hopeless friends, he said, It looked like it was my destiny to travel in their company through life. That didn’t bother me so much as the fact that I seemed irresistible to these dull idiot fellows. I was like a turd that drew flies instead of like a flower that butterflies and bees desired. The charms of the initial dilemmas and Chinaski’s attempts (or non-attempts) to fathom them, drowned into a sea of booze for the better part of the book. Nothing mattered as long as drinking was an option and the young Chinaski held nothing beyond the tinted bottle. Purposelessness pervaded the pages like a rigid plague and Bukowski’s pen remained, painfully, under-qualified to bulk up nothing. A case of plot and prose, pulling each other down. It appears that Bukowski’s life was way bitter and the taste nailed anger and anguish into his deepest cores. But perhaps, he didn’t write this book to shed those rusty flakes. He wrote to keep them alive. Almost like a protest, like a defiance. And under my reading lens, that defiance grappled without inspiration.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    "The first thing I remember is being under something." So begins this chronicle of the dirty old man's humble beginnings, his formative years, and the myriad oppressions he endured throughout his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. In the most literal sense, this opening line represents baby Hank's first concrete memory, but it also sets the tone for the entire memoir to come. Dedicated to "all the fathers," Ham on Rye is both an indictment of and a tribute to every boss, bully, teacher "The first thing I remember is being under something." So begins this chronicle of the dirty old man's humble beginnings, his formative years, and the myriad oppressions he endured throughout his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life. In the most literal sense, this opening line represents baby Hank's first concrete memory, but it also sets the tone for the entire memoir to come. Dedicated to "all the fathers," Ham on Rye is both an indictment of and a tribute to every boss, bully, teacher, preacher, and dictator (foreign and domestic) to leave their mark on Chinaski's (Bukowski's) coming-of-age experience, charting his own way forward if only by counterexample. "My father liked the slogan, 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.' But it hadn't done any of that for him. I decided that I might try to reverse the process." Each loosely connected chapter finds Hank at some point in his troubled youth, from his earliest memories of Andernach, Germany, to the first of many rented rooms in Los Angeles, California. Most of the intervening narrative deals with his abysmal home life throughout his equally trying school years. Whether at the hands of his father or his peers, young Hank takes his lickings and learns to give a licking or two in kind. He fights back, carves out his niche, thinks about girls and yearns for safe haven. "R.O.T.C. was for the misfits. Like I said, it was either that or gym." As with any semi-autobiographical work, one has to wonder how much of it is true. Hank loses more fights than he wins, and his descriptions of failure should ring true for anyone accustomed to the experience. If Bukowski were to fictionalize anything here, you'd think that he might actually get laid somewhere in these 283 pages. Having said that, it's probably not much of a spoiler to reveal that he remains a virgin at least up until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but anyone who's ever read Bukowski knows that he more than made up for this later in life (see Women, etc). There's got to be some scholarly work out there that unpacks the fact from fiction, but if one exists I am not aware. With Buk and his parents long since dead, I suppose I could call up Linda Lee to ask. Stupid idea, I know, but maybe I could convince her to adopt me the same way she adopted Hank all those years ago. Despite their famous squabble, I have no doubt in my mind that she added at least an extra decade to his life, without which he may have never lived to see the publication of this book in the first place. But I digress, and my glass needs refilling. Goodnight... For further reference: "The father never leaves" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_v1fc... "That's called growing up" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiuJGh... Peace out, bitches! This review is dedicated to Lila Jane.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I feel like this kid is someone that I've known well, not just read a book about him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    It all started in 7th grade with these stupid clubs they made us join. Some kind of “get involved” self esteem horseshit. Every other Friday was club day. An hour before school let out everyone had to pick a club to go to. They gave us a list. I left mine blank, so they put me in the Sports Cards Collecting Club. Better than the Baking Club, I guess. My friend Joe, whose dad was president of the Charles County fire department, didn’t leave his blank. He actually chose the Sports Card Collecting It all started in 7th grade with these stupid clubs they made us join. Some kind of “get involved” self esteem horseshit. Every other Friday was club day. An hour before school let out everyone had to pick a club to go to. They gave us a list. I left mine blank, so they put me in the Sports Cards Collecting Club. Better than the Baking Club, I guess. My friend Joe, whose dad was president of the Charles County fire department, didn’t leave his blank. He actually chose the Sports Card Collecting Club. The first Friday came. Same boring shit classes as usual. Then it was time to meet for our clubs. I had smoked a few cigarettes in the boys room before showing up, and was late. They gave us free football cards. I only like football when it’s tackle in the street without pads. Pads are for pussies. On top of that they gave us Redskin cards. Everybody was a Redskin fan, so I hated the Redskins. These cards: burning material. Joe spent that night at my house. Usually we stayed up trying to watch porn. HBO tits and an occasion bush through a fuzzy screen, because my cheap parents wouldn’t get pay channels. Softcore stuff was all there was then. No internet. This softcore stuff never showed cock though. That was good. I hate seeing another guy’s cock. But that night all we could think about was lighting those Redskins on fire. After polishing off my Dad’s bottle of Wild Turkey, we went to bed. When we woke up the next morning, Joe threw up. I probably drank twice as much as he did. That shit for brains can’t ever hold his liquor. He didn’t even eat the scrambled eggs my mom made for breakfast. So I ate his too. My mother always told me that she loved me. I didn’t love her, but she made good eggs. When my mom went upstairs Joe said I ate those eggs like they were Marilyn Monroe’s cunt. Now I don’t mind having my dick sucked, but I never eat pussy, so I punched him in the face. Now he had a black eye and his headache hurt worse; because while I may have small hands, I always hit hard. People remember it when I hit them. After this we went into the woods behind my house to burn those cards. We started cautious because it was windy and there were lots of leaves on the ground. It was so sweet watching those cards melt and burn. But that got old, so I said, “Joe, this burning football cards is for goddamn children.” Joe just shrugged his shoulders. All he ever did was shrug his fucking shoulders. I kind of liked that about him. I decided to light a few small piles of leaves. Now that’s a fire. Burn baby, burn. I was starting to feel alive. We found a bucket and put the fires out with water from the creek. No problem. I couldn’t get enough though. Who could? Fire is life. Things need to burn, wither, and be destroyed. Life is this type of destruction: a fire slowly charring us until we’re seven feet under hanging with the worms..... So I made larger, better fires. BURN BABY, BURN, BURN, BURN. If only there had been whiskey left for this occasion. Then one of the fires got out of control. The wind took it into more leaves and then into some trees. Joe tried throwing water on it, but there was no putting out this fire. I just stood and watched the beautiful destruction I had created. Joe started coughing from the smoke and threw up again. Then he ran back up to my house. I just stayed and watched, waiting on the sirens..... It finally took nine fire trucks to take that sucker down. I wanted to see a house burn. Came close, but no cigar. I was always coming close but never really getting anywhere, it seemed. It was Mr. Robinson's house that almost got it. Twenty more yards and it would have happened. But I at least had seven acres to my credit. The whole neighborhood showed up for the event. I didn’t run or act like it wasn’t me. Only pussies run. Joe showed up too. And would you believe that he was crying? Others were crying too. Like Mrs Robinson. And my mother. And people actually tried hugging me. I guess they felt sorry for me. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. A friend’s mom gave me a big hug, told me she knew I wasn’t really a bad kid deep down. I got a nice hold of her ass as she hugged me. It wasn’t bad for her age. I went home and my parents tried to ground me. But that shit never works. I had had my fun. I even had a few beers in my coat pockets that I had taken from Mr. Robinson’s garage. It was a better day than most.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    My life did not resemble Henry Chinaski's. No abusive father here. No ritualized beatings. No helpless mother. No culture of fighting. One lost fight was enough to teach me the purposelessness of all that. I liked school. Not that I go to the reunions. Sure there was the pimply phase, but nothing like the scourge of boils that rendered Henry a monster. And yet...and yet... Something rang so true reading this book. The sense of alienation. The understanding of the absurdity of it all. The rejection My life did not resemble Henry Chinaski's. No abusive father here. No ritualized beatings. No helpless mother. No culture of fighting. One lost fight was enough to teach me the purposelessness of all that. I liked school. Not that I go to the reunions. Sure there was the pimply phase, but nothing like the scourge of boils that rendered Henry a monster. And yet...and yet... Something rang so true reading this book. The sense of alienation. The understanding of the absurdity of it all. The rejection of class and mores. The resort to isolation. Somehow I got to the same godless, cynical place, where I can look back with a sense of inevitability. You know how you pick a book up, flip a few pages, read the first sentence, perhaps, or a few strands of dialogue to get a sense of whether it will be worth the effort? I did that here and thought this would be trite, unsatisfying and nihilistic. But I bought it anyhow, couldn't put it down and feel that I've learned something about myself from reading about someone who isn't like me at all.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

    “At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.” ― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye Reading Charles Bukowski in public is a rather curious thing. Every once in a while, you come across some line or paragraph that is suffused with such a potent strand of open misanthropy it makes you chuckle. You thin “At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.” ― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye Reading Charles Bukowski in public is a rather curious thing. Every once in a while, you come across some line or paragraph that is suffused with such a potent strand of open misanthropy it makes you chuckle. You think to yourself: "Surely this man is exaggerating here, merely going for comedic or shock effect?" What do you do? You decide to test his theory. You look up, take in your surroundings, watch ordinary humans go about their daily business and return to the passage you just read. Then it hits you. "Oh shucks, he's kind of right here. What does that say about me? Am I turning into a -toned down- Bukowski myself?" The ones who appreciate Bukowski have this experience often, I presume (also hope). Ham on Rye tells of the formative years (1920-45, roughly) of Bukowski's alter ego Henry Chinaski. In effect it is a loosely structured, even somewhat sloppy autobiography. Writing this book surely must have been emotionally punishing for Bukowski though. There is some serious, unresolved pain here, one supposes most of it not dealt with through any professional channels. Which would have been very unlike him, of course. Bukowski is the quintessential lone wolf, he dealt with his pain on his own terms. It wouldn't have given him the venom he needed, nor made him the figure he turned into. He goes into lengthy detail about his horrendous childhood. The domineering and abusive father, the spineless mother, and the soul-crushing social alienation he experienced as a child and young adult. Dreams are shattered, any sense of self-worth is ground into the earth at inception and even the tiniest hint of human warmth displayed is slowly being squeezed out. Unsurprisingly, the only route open to the character is direct revolt and nihilism. A rejection of all social conventions, common "wisdoms" and, above all, expectations. Yet for all the abject misery this is a supremely funny and vigorous book, if you know what to look for and share Bukowski's brand of humour. What really did surprise me though was that there is a tenderness here that I didn't find in either Post Office , Factotum or Women. At the ending of the book Bukowski seems to have found some degree of peace, some acceptance of his present state and past. Considering the tumultous, unpleasant life he had led up until then, this is one hell of a miracle. You can level many accusations against Bukowski, both as a writer and as a person. Sure, his writing is blunt, unrefined, perhaps too reliant on cheap gross out effects. He was an alcoholic, a misanthrope, even a thoroughly vile man when he got you in his crosshairs, but what he surely wasn't was unfeeling. Underneath all that bravado and machismo there beat the heart of a disappointed, yet true, romantic. Sadly, that person never had a chance to flourish. That is the source of Bukowski's greatness and tragedy both.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helle

    Holy shit! This is the story of Henry Chenaski, Charles Bukowski’s alter ego, who had a helluva depressing childhood in large part due to a father who was a real son of a bitch and whom I blame for Henry’s later love of the bottle, to a lesser extent due to the Depression that hit the States, and Los Angeles, when Henry grew up. My heart bled for young Henry; like when his father forced him to mow the lawn when all the other kids on the street were out playing. When Henry was done, his father put Holy shit! This is the story of Henry Chenaski, Charles Bukowski’s alter ego, who had a helluva depressing childhood in large part due to a father who was a real son of a bitch and whom I blame for Henry’s later love of the bottle, to a lesser extent due to the Depression that hit the States, and Los Angeles, when Henry grew up. My heart bled for young Henry; like when his father forced him to mow the lawn when all the other kids on the street were out playing. When Henry was done, his father put his head down on the lawn, cheek on grass, spotted a stray blade of grass and (view spoiler)[ beat young Henry – again – with his leather belt (hide spoiler)] . There was something about his loneliness and his plight, in the first part of the book, which reminded me of Holden Cauldfield ( The Catcher in the Rye). Both Henry and Holden throw around goddamned tough language whenever possible but are essentially lost kids. (There’s even the word ‘rye’ in the titles of both stories, surely two of the only titles in literary history to use that word). Apart from his pestilential father, Henry suffered from the meanest boils imaginable and went through a horrible ordeal for years trying to get rid of them while being painfully aware that a head full of boils (not to mention a back) didn’t exactly attract the girls. At this point he met one of the few good people to cross his path during his childhood, the nurse who treated him for the boils: ‘She was the kindest person I’d met in eight years.’ (Henry’s mother wasn’t unkind to Henry; she just didn’t stop Henry’s father but rather joined Henry in his victimhood). As Henry grew up, the graphic details increased. There were perhaps one or two of these I could have done without, but you sense it’s part of the honesty project here; if Henry (a.k.a. Charles) thought about these things – as there’s evidence to support he did, excessively so – they went into the book. He got more obsessed with girls (and their legs, and their hair, and their….), and as he grew older, he became obsessed with women. And with booze. He turned into the Bukowski I’d read about. This novel provided much of the background. Here’s another classic and perhaps even defining situation: Right after his high school graduation, Henry’s father is – once again – on Henry’s case about not amounting to much. ‘Why did I have a son like you?’ he says to Henry, comparing him to some other kid. ‘How come you never applied yourself?’ etc. etc. No congratulations, no ‘good job, son – you did what I never managed to do’. None of that. I found myself saying out loud, (view spoiler)[’Well, Mr. Chenaski, maybe if you hadn’t spent your years as a father beating up your son with a leather strap once or twice a week for the tiniest thing and in stead taken an interest in him, he might have amounted to more. (hide spoiler)] While I felt for the kid Henry Chenaski, I felt increasingly annoyed with his unpleasant adult self who, perhaps unsurprisingly, seemed bent on drinking himself into a stupor and general oblivion whenever possible, picking fights and heading deliberately for the low life on skid row. As a young man he seemed determined to become a loser while disdaining anyone who wasn’t. Though somehow: Who could blame him? It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself. Henry’s existential derailment seemed circular and monotonous towards the end, which perhaps underlines the authenticity and the tragedy of his life if not the sense of literary appreciation on my part. Still, there were many linguistic gems – in that completely non-show-off-y kind of way, which in some ways also characterizes Catcher: an informal, mid-20th century, colloquial tone which lays bare a life, sometimes annoys, sometimes draws on your sympathy, sometimes makes you laugh and often gives you glimpses of what kind of writer Hank/Charles was to become. Potential landlord: You working? Henry: I’m a writer PL: You don’t look like a writer H: What do they look like? Even in Henry’s increasing feeling of alienation, we sense something else underneath the scarred surface, an energy with which he might learn to suppress his apparent death wish. Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ميقات الراجحي

    موجع هذا النص تعاطفت مع هنري (صاحبنا بوكوفسكي) وكذلك مع والدة هنري وهي تعاني من سوء تصرف والدها وبدأت أعي حجم المعاناة التي ولد وسطها هذا البوكوفسكي وسط إنـهيار والده تجاريًا في ألمانيا بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى وإستقرارهم في لوس أنجلوس وكيف أثر والده عليه بتصرفه تجاه والدته وبداية المخزون اللغوي القذر الذي سجله في سيرته الروائية في كل أعماله لمعاناة والده بسبب عدم وجود عمل يعينه. هذا غير كمية سوء المعاملة من إهانة وضرب تلقتها الأم والأبناء معًا. في هذا الجزء يعود بوكوفسكي أو نقل بطل النص "هنري ت موجع هذا النص تعاطفت مع هنري (صاحبنا بوكوفسكي) وكذلك مع والدة هنري وهي تعاني من سوء تصرف والدها وبدأت أعي حجم المعاناة التي ولد وسطها هذا البوكوفسكي وسط إنـهيار والده تجاريًا في ألمانيا بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى وإستقرارهم في لوس أنجلوس وكيف أثر والده عليه بتصرفه تجاه والدته وبداية المخزون اللغوي القذر الذي سجله في سيرته الروائية في كل أعماله لمعاناة والده بسبب عدم وجود عمل يعينه. هذا غير كمية سوء المعاملة من إهانة وضرب تلقتها الأم والأبناء معًا. في هذا الجزء يعود بوكوفسكي أو نقل بطل النص "هنري تشيناسكي" للجذور – الولادة. يقوم بتشريح المكان والزمان من خلال العائلة، والأفعال التي سوف تعشش في ذاكرته لسنوات طويلة. هنا أعتقد بدأت أعي بعض أفكار وحياة بوكوفسكي... هنا في هذا الجزء الطفولة والمراهقة والضرب بواسطة حزام البنطلون - يبدو أنه أداة الضرب الوحيدة ي ذلك الوقت- والتعرف على الكحول الطريق الذي سيوجعنا به بوكوفسكي. طوال حياته. كذلك توثق الرواية لأثر الكساد الذي ضرب أمريكا وغيرها بسبب الحرب العالمية الثانية. كذلك شباب بوكوفسكي المضطرب تجده في كل هذه الرواية بين ألمانيا وامريكا. التطور الذي حدث في مستوى اللغة الشعرية عند بوكوفسكي ينطلق من طاولات مدرسته وهو صغير ومن منزله حيث والده الذي يبدو أنه ورث عنه قاموسًا أضاف له الكثير. كنت أقف مستغربًآ بين قدرة هذا الرجل على التمادي في الشتم واللعن وذكر تفاصيل الحياة الجنسية.. أعتقد كنت أشعر به يفجّر ذلك الغضب على الورق وأتخيل يعلم أنه يكرر نفسه لكن يأبى الوقوف. سير الرواية من ناحية البناء جيد جدًا. يصّور طفولته والحياة الإمريكية إبان الحرب العالمية الثانية في لغة سردية رائعة، ورغم شاعرية بوكفسكي إلا أنه ذكي في الرواية لا يتكلف في النص. قرأت له روايتان بلغتها الأم. حقيقة لا يتكلف رغم أن لديه مصطلحات خاصة بالحياة الأمريكية وخاصة بحياة الأمريكيين – العامة – رواد الحانات وساكنو الحمارات. إستمرارية إستهلاك كلمات البذاءة بدأت أملّهُ خصوصًا وأنا قرأت كل سيرته الروائية (متواصلة) وهذا الجزء الرابع لذا أشعر بقيمة ما أٍول من تذكري لكثرة حديث الجنس والنساء وكأنه فيلم إباحي تعيد مشاهدته مرة تلو مرة تلو مرة. لولا الكوكيديا الساخرة التي تنتشر بين مقاطع الكتاب لكان الوضع مختلف.

  15. 5 out of 5

    نعیمه بخشی

    عجیب نیست که آدم از شرح فلاکتهای کسی لذت ببرد؟ شاید نه. اگر این شرح را چارلز بوکوفسکی نوشته باشد. و در خوانش شرح بدبختیهای هنری چیناکسی حتا آدم خندهاش میگیرد، میخندد. البته اگر همه این اتفاقات در دنیای واقعیِ بوکوفسکی اتفاق افتاده باشند، چیزی شبیه کابوس است اما خواندن بیخیالی شخصیتی که خلق کرده، دیالوگهای بامزهاش و فضایی که در کل رمان ایجاد میکند به یک جور طنز سیاه شبیه میشود. هنری چیناسکی مرام و مسلک خودش را دارد، هیچکس جذبش نمیشود و در مقابل هیچچیزی در دنیا برایش جذاب نیست. همیشه در فکر انتقام عجیب نیست که آدم از شرح فلاکت‌های کسی لذت ببرد؟ شاید نه. اگر این شرح را چارلز بوکوفسکی نوشته باشد. و در خوانش شرح بدبختی‌های هنری چیناکسی حتا آدم خنده‌اش می‌گیرد، می‌خندد. البته اگر همه این اتفاقات در دنیای واقعیِ بوکوفسکی اتفاق افتاده باشند، چیزی شبیه کابوس است اما خواندن بی‌خیالی شخصیتی که خلق کرده، دیالوگ‌های بامزه‌اش و فضایی که در کل رمان ایجاد می‌کند به یک جور طنز سیاه شبیه می‌شود. هنری چیناسکی مرام و مسلک خودش را دارد، هیچکس جذبش نمی‌شود و در مقابل هیچ‌چیزی در دنیا برایش جذاب نیست. همیشه در فکر انتقام گرفتن است، از دنیا، از آدم‌های پولدار، از زندگی فقیرانه‌اش ولی هیچوقت جا نمی‌زند، هیچوقت واقعا جا نمی‌زند. برای من این کتاب جز بهترین‌های بوکوفسکی است.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eirini Proikaki

    Ο Χένρι Τσινάσκι μεγαλώνει σε ένα δύσκολο περιβάλλον,σε μια φτωχή οικογένεια με έναν πατέρα που συχνά ξεσπάει πάνω του και μια μητέρα αδιάφορη.Στο σχολείο τα πράγματα δεν είναι καλύτερα,δεν έχει φίλους,δεν μπορεί και δεν θέλει να προσαρμοστεί,συχνά μπλέκει σε καυγάδες και ,σαν κερασάκι στην τούρτα,στην εφηβεία αποκτάει μεγάλο πρόβλημα ακμής που σχεδόν τον παραμορφώνει. Ποιος μπορεί να τον κατηγορήσει που είναι τόσο κυνικός; Βρίσκει καταφύγιο στο ποτό και στα βιβλία:«Ήταν απόλαυση! Οι λέξεις δεν ήτ Ο Χένρι Τσινάσκι μεγαλώνει σε ένα δύσκολο περιβάλλον,σε μια φτωχή οικογένεια με έναν πατέρα που συχνά ξεσπάει πάνω του και μια μητέρα αδιάφορη.Στο σχολείο τα πράγματα δεν είναι καλύτερα,δεν έχει φίλους,δεν μπορεί και δεν θέλει να προσαρμοστεί,συχνά μπλέκει σε καυγάδες και ,σαν κερασάκι στην τούρτα,στην εφηβεία αποκτάει μεγάλο πρόβλημα ακμής που σχεδόν τον παραμορφώνει. Ποιος μπορεί να τον κατηγορήσει που είναι τόσο κυνικός; Βρίσκει καταφύγιο στο ποτό και στα βιβλία:«Ήταν απόλαυση! Οι λέξεις δεν ήταν βαρετές, οι λέξεις ήταν πράγματα που έκαναν το μυαλό σου να γυρίζει όταν τις διάβαζες, ένιωθες τη μαγεία, μπορούσες να ζήσεις χωρίς τον πόνο, με ελπίδα, ανεξάρτητα από το τι είχε συμβεί». Oι λέξεις του Μπουκόφσκι σίγουρα δεν είναι ποτέ βαρετές.Μπορεί να είναι σκληρές,"βρώμικες" ,αλλά βαρετές όχι. Το Τοστ ζαμπόν είναι σε μεγάλο βαθμό αυτοβιογραφικό βιβλίο και αυτό το κάνει ακόμα πιο ενδιαφέρον.Δεν έχω διαβάσει κανένα βιβλίο του Μπουκόφσκι που να μην μου άρεσε αλλά αυτό και οι Γυναίκες είναι τα αγαπημένα μου μέχρι στιγμής.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Masculinity is hilarious. Men are expected to kick ass and fuck anything that moves, as long as your peers approve of those whose asses are to be kicked, or that the housing for the orifice you seek to penetrate meets their requirements. In other words, dudes are fucking stupid. We covet the approval of other dudes when other dudes do little to nothing for us. "GET ALL THE PUSSY!" is their battle song. But make sure the girl is sexy enough so that your buddies don't rag you over fucking some tro Masculinity is hilarious. Men are expected to kick ass and fuck anything that moves, as long as your peers approve of those whose asses are to be kicked, or that the housing for the orifice you seek to penetrate meets their requirements. In other words, dudes are fucking stupid. We covet the approval of other dudes when other dudes do little to nothing for us. "GET ALL THE PUSSY!" is their battle song. But make sure the girl is sexy enough so that your buddies don't rag you over fucking some troglodyte. "KICK ALL THE ASS," they cry! And when you don't, you're a pussy. Because all men want pussy more than they wish to be one. "BEAT IT UP!" they scream. Because sometimes the line between sex and violence is blurred for men. But sex is just as important as violence and requires the same amount of masculinity to achieve. SO ONWARD WAYWARD COCK! Fuck off. It's silly. The only thing required of you to "BE A MAN!" is that you have a penis. That's it. You only need one thing to be a woman. Guess what that is? You guessed it. A vagina. And because it's bound to come up, I'm not here to debate gender identity. If you identify as something other than the sex you were born, I respect that. I'm talking about the prerequisites for gender status. Or, if you will, the absurdity of gender expectations. I was called a "sissy" and a "faggot" a lot when I was younger because I'd only fight to protect myself. I wouldn't instigate a fight over words, or to defend my honor. Because of this, my masculinity was always in question. Years later, I got married and had two kids. Guess there was never anything wrong with my "masculinity". My parts work just fine. I said all that to say this: I love this fucking book. It pokes fun at every aspect of masculinity and the absurdity of manhood. I find it funny beyond belief that Bukowski's character Henry Chinaski (allegedly an alias for himself, and this book a fictionalized auto-biography of his own life) would point out the posteriors of men just as much as he pointed out boobs and vaginas (or, in his words, "cunts"). He also used words like "pretty" and "beautiful" to describe men in the book. Everything about this novel challenges gender norms and that's probably what I dug most about it. The book is vulgar and its crudeness speaks to the theme. You'll read about everything from old people fucking to guys jacking off dogs to teenage boys looking up through bleachers to scope out a bared vagina. Bukowski pulls no punches. He pours water into the male psyche to find all the holes and short circuit the machinery. I dug every page of this novel. It is thought provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. Any book that pulls that off gets all the stars from yours truly. In summation: This novel is, simply put, brilliant. It works as both parody and serious literature. If you think never the twain could meet, I suggest you read this book and look past the simple language to see the bigger message. Bukowski had Vonnegut-level skills, yo. Final Judgment: Sings, "NOW YOU'RE A MAN, A MAN MAN MAN!"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sweet Jane

    "Πόλεμος. Εδώ ήμουν παρθένος. Μπορείς να φανταστείς τα μυαλά σου τιναγμένα στον αέρα για χάρη της ιστορίας, πριν ακόμα γνωρίσεις τι πράγμα είναι η γυναίκα; Ή πριν αποκτήσεις ένα αυτοκίνητο; Τι έπρεπε να προστατέψω; Κάποιους άλλους. Αυτούς που δεν δίνουν δεκάρα τσακιστή για μένα. Το να πεθάνεις στον πόλεμο δεν σταματάει τους πολέμους." Ο ποιητικός κυνισμός του θείου Charles εδώ

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    Charles Bukowski has led me to some amazing books, but this was not one of them. It was well told, but I personally prefer fiction. The problem with non-fiction is that, whenever you get to a part you enjoy - it doesn't last long. There were incredible parts, but then the main character grew older and all of the supporting characters changed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    ZaRi

    "بیشتر آدمها در بیستوپنج سالگی تمام میشوند. و بعد تبدیل میشوند به ملتی بیشعور که رانندگی میکند، غذا میخورد، بچهدار میشود و هرکاری را به بدترین شکلاش انجام میدهد، مانند رای دادن به کاندیدای ریاست جمهوریای که آنها را یاد خودشان میاندازد. من دلبستگی نداشتم. به هیچچیز دلبستگی نداشتم. حتی نمیدانستم چطور باید فرار کنم. بقیه دستکم حساب کار دستشان آمده بود که چطور زندگی کنند. آنها ظاهراً چیزی را فهمیده بودند که من نفهمیده بودم. شاید چیزی در من کم بود." "بیش‌تر آدم‌ها در بیست‌وپنج سالگی تمام می‌شوند. و بعد تبدیل می‌شوند به ملتی بی‌شعور که رانندگی می‌کند، غذا می‌خورد، بچه‌دار می‌شود و هرکاری را به بدترین شکل‌اش انجام می‌دهد، مانند رای دادن به کاندیدای ریاست جمهوری‌ای که آن‌ها را یاد خودشان می‌اندازد. من دل‌بستگی نداشتم. به هیچ‌چیز دل‌بستگی نداشتم. حتی نمی‌دانستم چطور باید فرار کنم. بقیه دست‌کم حساب کار دست‌شان آمده بود که چطور زندگی کنند. آن‌ها ظاهراً چیزی را فهمیده بودند که من نفهمیده بودم. شاید چیزی در من کم بود."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    There is this eminent poem by Philip Larkin: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn by fools in old-style hats and coats, who half the time were soppy-stern and half at one another's throats.” And everything in Ham on Rye develops under this scenario… “So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was goi There is this eminent poem by Philip Larkin: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. But they were fucked up in their turn by fools in old-style hats and coats, who half the time were soppy-stern and half at one another's throats.” And everything in Ham on Rye develops under this scenario… “So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was going to be easy for me.” So the mournful bitterness of his childhood turned Henry Chinaski – that is Charles Bukowski – into an impenitent and cynical insurgent for life. “I was like a turd that drew flies instead of like a flower that butterflies and bees desired.” Ham on Rye is a merciless and graphic story – a real death sentence to smug philistines. “At the age of twenty five most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.” And there is always one who wants to stay outside the herd…

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chaim

    A Portrait of the Bastard as a Young Man... My second Bukowski book. Just as I did the first time, I assumed this novel would be profane, profane for the sake of being profane. And yet here I am, again surprised. This is a compassionate, humane story. The obscenity exists, not because Bukowski wants to shock us, but because it's simply a part of his world. There's just so much heart here, and the storytelling is raw and masterful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”—Hunter Thompson “And my own affairs were as bad, as dismal, as the day I had been born. The only difference was that now I could drink now and then, though never often enough. Drink was the only thing that kept a man from feeling forever stunned and useless. Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”—Hunter Thompson “And my own affairs were as bad, as dismal, as the day I had been born. The only difference was that now I could drink now and then, though never often enough. Drink was the only thing that kept a man from feeling forever stunned and useless. Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful, all alike. And I've got to live with these fuckers for the rest of my life, I thought. God, they all had assholes and sexual organs and their mouths and their armpits. They shit and they chattered and they were dull as horse dung. The girls looked good from a distance, the sun shining through their dresses, their hair. But get up close and listen to their minds running out of their mouths, you felt like digging in under a hill and hiding out with a tommy-gun. I would certainly never be able to be happy, to get married, I could never have children. Hell, I couldn't even get a job as a dishwasher.”--Bukowski If the above paragraph offends you—and I admit it could maybe offend on various levels—then Bukowski is not for you. But this autobiographical novel focused on Henry Chinaski’s early years up until Pearl Harbor, has a kind of breathless drive and hilarity, with fresh working-class boy language. Henry is bullied, beaten by his bastard father, gets into multiple fights, lust after girls, gets in trouble in school constantly. He grows up poor, with severe acne that develops into boils, so he’s early on a loser with only losers for friends. Later he becomes a good boxer, but early on he fails at sports. He makes it through high school and college, but barely, as an English major, though he sometimes gets kicked out of classes: “You are thirty minutes late." "Yes." "Would you be thirty minutes late to a wedding or a funeral?" "No." "Why not, pray tell?" "Well, if the funeral was mine I'd have to be on time. If the wedding was mine it would be my funeral.” It’s for a time mainly fighting and drinking that give him any kind of solace: “Getting drunk was good. I decided that I would always like getting drunk. It took away the obvious and maybe if you could get away from the obvious often enough, you wouldn't become so obvious yourself.” Chinaski finds reading as a resource, and he reads everything, respecting mainly straight-shooting guys like Hemingway. Unpretentious writers not of privileged classes. “First paycheck I get, I thought, I'm going to get myself a room near the downtown L.A. Public Library.” Finally, he finds solace in writing, which gets him thrown out of his house by his father, but: “It was a joy! Words weren't dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.” But he is still deeply cynical, hates almost everything and everyone: “The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.” Yet Chinaski is self-deprecating, too: “I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.” and “I made practice runs down to skid row to get ready for my future.” “Maybe I'd be a bank robber. Some god-damned thing. Something with flare, fire. You only had one shot. Why be a window washer?” Bukowski in this book is Hunter Thompson without the political black humor, with even greater nihilism, maybe, humorous without principles, living an early life of darkness shaped by his father and getting beaten up by everyone. This guy may not be the best American writer, but he is a very good one, at his best. At his best he is astonishingly honest and unsentimental. It was a great read. I laughed a lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    Review to come, after I pick my jaw up from off the floor. Bukowski’s rude, crude alter ego, Henry Chinaski, drunkenly but oh so convincingly knocked me out with his story of growing up poor in LA during the depression, his sadistic Dad and ineffectual mom, and lots more. I didn’t know I was getting into a fight, but I will gladly step into the ring with him again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ioanna ms

    Παιδιά σας το λέω, το βιβλίο αυτό φεύγει νερό. Είναι ημιαυτοβιογραφικό (ο πρωταγωνιστής φέρει το άλλο όνομα του ίδιου του Μπουκόβσκι, Χένρι). Το διάλεξα γιατί ο αγγλικός του τίτλος είναι λογοπαίγνιο πάνω στο όνομα του "The catcher on the rye" που το λατρεύω, ε είπα έστω σε θεματολογία θα μοιάζουν. Και δεν απογοητεύτηκα. Είναι και αυτό coming of age, όμως παρακολουθούμε τον Χένρι απο παιδάκι μέχρι τα 20 του χρόνια. Είναι βιβλίο τόσο ευαίσθητο και σκληρό ταυτόχρονα, πραγματικά μου προκάλεσε πολλα Παιδιά σας το λέω, το βιβλίο αυτό φεύγει νερό. Είναι ημιαυτοβιογραφικό (ο πρωταγωνιστής φέρει το άλλο όνομα του ίδιου του Μπουκόβσκι, Χένρι). Το διάλεξα γιατί ο αγγλικός του τίτλος είναι λογοπαίγνιο πάνω στο όνομα του "The catcher on the rye" που το λατρεύω, ε είπα έστω σε θεματολογία θα μοιάζουν. Και δεν απογοητεύτηκα. Είναι και αυτό coming of age, όμως παρακολουθούμε τον Χένρι απο παιδάκι μέχρι τα 20 του χρόνια. Είναι βιβλίο τόσο ευαίσθητο και σκληρό ταυτόχρονα, πραγματικά μου προκάλεσε πολλα συναισθήματα, και ο πρωταγωνιστής είναι σαν αληθινός άνθρωπος. Και τον έβρισα, και τον συμπόνεσα, και τον λυπήθηκα, και έχει άπειρα ελαττώματα, όπως όλοι. Προειδοποίηση, περιέχει σκηνές βίας αρκετά σκληρές. Φοβόμουν λίγο τον Μπουκόβσκι γιατί είχα ακούσει πως είναι ψυχοπλακωτικός, αλλά το συγκεκριμένο με άγγιξε πάρα πολύ, και σίγουρα θα διαβασω και κάποιο από τα άλλα του βιβλία.❤

  26. 4 out of 5

    Henry Martin

    This was a reread for me, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Nevertheless, Bukowski never bores, no matter how many times I read his stories. Ham on Rye is a quintessential tale of an angry young man. What sets this one apart is the fact that he has a plenty to be angry about. Bukowski's writing is always a breath of fresh air amid pretentious novels dealing with a similar subject. What sets him apart is hard to classify. His language is plain, his grammar sparse but perfect, and there is This was a reread for me, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Nevertheless, Bukowski never bores, no matter how many times I read his stories. Ham on Rye is a quintessential tale of an angry young man. What sets this one apart is the fact that he has a plenty to be angry about. Bukowski's writing is always a breath of fresh air amid pretentious novels dealing with a similar subject. What sets him apart is hard to classify. His language is plain, his grammar sparse but perfect, and there is a certain raw quality to his earlier works that many tried to replicate while missing the mark completely. There was only one Bukowski. He did not give a damn, and I thank him for it. His writing is certainly not for everyone. It is a crude mumbling of a disinterested, detached individual who could not care less about the rest of the world. Yet, there is beauty. A beauty in the simplicity, a beauty between the lines, an unconstrained beauty that runs amok in the street while avoiding getting stained by the garbage surrounding it. Reading Bukowski makes me want to write. It makes me want to express myself, to share my thoughts with the world. Reading Bukowski is, in a way, liberating.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Franco Santos

    Novela autobiográfica de Bukowski. Cruda, cruel, con un lenguaje vulgar y directo. Es un claro reflejo de la miseria humana en la época de la Depresión y la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El autor nos lleva por los barrios más bajos para que conozcamos qué lo arrastró a su enajenación, a su conducta antisocial y al alcoholismo. Un chico que a partir de una muy temprana edad tuvo que aprender a jugar en la vida con reglas sucias, que fue rechazado por su padre, que fue ignorado por la compasión y que tr Novela autobiográfica de Bukowski. Cruda, cruel, con un lenguaje vulgar y directo. Es un claro reflejo de la miseria humana en la época de la Depresión y la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El autor nos lleva por los barrios más bajos para que conozcamos qué lo arrastró a su enajenación, a su conducta antisocial y al alcoholismo. Un chico que a partir de una muy temprana edad tuvo que aprender a jugar en la vida con reglas sucias, que fue rechazado por su padre, que fue ignorado por la compasión y que trató de ser un hombre entre las sombras de una realidad agresiva e implacable. Así recorremos la evolución de Henry Chinaski desde su infancia y cómo va impactando en él el clima hostil y maltratador que lo iba desgarrando con cada golpe. Un relato conmovedor y con mucho humor al mismo tiempo. No es para nada pesado y se lee de un tirón. Muy recomendable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Barrett

    I've read bits of Bukowski's poetry throughout the years but this is the first of his books that I have read... and it won't be the last. Hilarious, gritty, raunchy stuff. This book literally had me laughing out loud.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Raegan Butcher

    Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers. This is one of his best books. Heartbreaking and hilarious, this was written at the perfect time by the man himself--if he had been younger it wouldn't have had the wisdom that it contains---this is probably Bukowski at his finest; all of the foundations for his later life and work are laid here: his father's brutality, his mother's complacency, the cruelty of his classmates and his rejection by just about everyone once his acne erupted;these exper Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers. This is one of his best books. Heartbreaking and hilarious, this was written at the perfect time by the man himself--if he had been younger it wouldn't have had the wisdom that it contains---this is probably Bukowski at his finest; all of the foundations for his later life and work are laid here: his father's brutality, his mother's complacency, the cruelty of his classmates and his rejection by just about everyone once his acne erupted;these experiences, tho specific to Bukowski, become universal in his hands as he invests this novel with a quiet sadness that provides many clues to his later behavior. It's not surprising that the child and young man depicted here would grow up to be a somewhat misanthropic alcoholic--yet secretly as human and vulnerable as any of us. I think as time goes on this book will only increase in stature among the many that Bukowski wrote during his lifetime.It stands as a wonderful time capsule of the Great Depression and Los Angeles in the 1930's as well as offering an honest portrait of the difficult childhood and adolescence of a unique American artist.(James Franco is currently making this into a film to be titled "Bukowski" with Tim Blake Nelson playing Henry Sr)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sentimental Surrealist

    Bukowski is impossible to separate from his fans, at least for me: those driver-cap wearing kids you see in every undergraduate creative writing seminar who still think it's not just funny but somehow or other beneficial to society to be "edgy" and "politically incorrect," who wish they had mental illness so they could "tap into genius," and who feel that living the "real writer's life" involves being homeless and alcoholic. They're pretty much the "manly men" of the creative writing sphere. It' Bukowski is impossible to separate from his fans, at least for me: those driver-cap wearing kids you see in every undergraduate creative writing seminar who still think it's not just funny but somehow or other beneficial to society to be "edgy" and "politically incorrect," who wish they had mental illness so they could "tap into genius," and who feel that living the "real writer's life" involves being homeless and alcoholic. They're pretty much the "manly men" of the creative writing sphere. It's unfortunate that I can't remove Bukowski from these assholes, because I like Bukowski enough. He's honest and direct and sometimes visceral and sometimes funny, although it's also quite annoying how he never writes about anything but himself. His poetry is probably better than his prose, based on the small sampling I've gotten. It's a shame about those fans.

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