Post Office

Started by Ron, January 01, 2003, 17:36:52 pm

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Ron

Please note that reviews are not to be submitted before January 11. I just thought of opening subject now I have finished the book and written my review to submit later.
Dat geluk verdwijnt voor geld


Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy.

Crewe

Reg

Unfortunately, mine hadn't arrived by the time I left for Poland, so I won't get mine until at least January 10th when I get home - so my review won't be for a while yet.
Standing in the shadows, hiding from the light
Reach out in the darkness, and hold on for your life
All the fear of the future, all the emptiness inside
When the moment of truth arrives, hey, you can run but you can't hide

Ron

Just let us (=mainly Ashley, as he is the moderator here) know if we need to extend the deadline for you, Reg...
I'm more than happy to extend it with a week or so, gives me time to catch up on Ghost Rider and Otherland.
Dat geluk verdwijnt voor geld


Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy.

Crewe

Ashley

18th it is then!

I've forgotten to start it  :-[

Ron

Quote18th it is then!

I've forgotten to start it
Dat geluk verdwijnt voor geld


Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy.

Crewe

Mark_Williams

I sure did  ::)  :o  ;D

Reg

Okey dokey, pig in a pokey.  I've got it and read it.
Who's turn is it to kick off the reviews then?  I think I did the last one.
Standing in the shadows, hiding from the light
Reach out in the darkness, and hold on for your life
All the fear of the future, all the emptiness inside
When the moment of truth arrives, hey, you can run but you can't hide

Ron

OK, breaking the ice here...

Post Office by Charles Bukowski

First off, I really like this book. It's funny and a little sad at the same time.
It describes Los Angeles (mainly) from the low-life point of view. And it is brilliantly written. Concise sentenses, straight off-the-street language makes it a book you really rush through.

I found this quoted sentence from the book very typical for the whole book:
"I thought of her millions, picked her up, flipped her on her back and stuck it in."
I guess Bukowski is better in describing it than I am.

The story is just the story of the part of Bukowski's life when he was employed at the Post Office. Outside the Post Office, his life is filled with booze (plenty of that), girls (plenty of those) and the race track (not too many of those).
You are taken on the rollercoaster ride of his life, with all the nice details told explicitly. At the end you understand why he barely survives.

The high contrast between the words of the writer and the quoted official text from the post office (letters and employees) is a very nice touch indeed. "NOW, if you are caught on another slow tray you will be due for ADVANCED COUNCELLING", his super tells at his first councelling. Brilliant!

All in all, a very good suggestion from Mark (if I'm not mistaken) and I highly recommend this book to anyone. If you set your head to it, you easily read it in a day.

Dat geluk verdwijnt voor geld


Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy.

Crewe

Reg

Ok, as Ron has broken the ice.

A very quick read this.  I finished it over the course of 2 flights coming out to Poland on Monday.

It is not a big book, and also, the style of writing makes for a very easy read - very conversational.

The story of his tenure in the Postal Service is quite rivetting, but I have a problem here - I cannot like and relate to our hero / protagonist.  He's not a very likeable guy.

For instance, he forgives his wife for kicking the mutt with her pointed shoes.  I could never forgive such a thing.  And the blatant disregard for his job is another thing I cannot relate to and the constant drinking / disregard for others.  As Ashley has said, the rape scene is particularly disturbing.

Having said all that - that is a problem I have with Bukowski himself, not with the book.  It is indeed a good read, but I personally don't know why it is raved about so much.  On the cover I'm sure 'hilarious' is mentioned.  It is not.  There are parts which are mildly amusing, but basically, there is no light at the end of the tunnel in this book.  To me, the most moving part was when (was it George, GG), getting older, couldn't quite handle stuffing his case, and broke into tears.  I really felt for the guy.

If anything, it just makes me glad I'm not him.  If any of that sounds snobbish at all, then I guess I must be a snob.
Standing in the shadows, hiding from the light
Reach out in the darkness, and hold on for your life
All the fear of the future, all the emptiness inside
When the moment of truth arrives, hey, you can run but you can't hide

Ashley

Well, I've just finished it and am not a fan.

Let me paraphrase the book, he goes to work, gets shit on, goes to the offie, gets off his face, shags, goes to sleep.

Am I close?

Yes, I know I am being a bit disingenuous, but although it is a nice easy read, all of the characters are at best two dimensional, and whatever the end is about I will never understand.

The hero reminds me of the guy in 'Tomcat in love' another drifter who is letting the world carry him along, but to me that is not an attribute.

The hero is simply lazy & weak, lazy because he has umpteen opportunities to leave & get a different job & therefore circumstances, and weak because he takes the bottle every time.

Those 'quotations' on the cover should be up for trade descritions, or perhaps its just me not getting the joke!

And the early rape scene does what exactly?

So there you have it, not the best book I have read and not to be recommended to anyone.

For a good short read try 'Of mice & men'.

Slim

Hmm I have a feeling this might be a good read ;D

Ron

QuoteFor a good short read try 'Of mice & men'.

Gee, that's a long time ago since I've read it, Ashley.

Slim, I think it is a good read actually.
Dat geluk verdwijnt voor geld


Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy.

Crewe

Mark_Williams

Bukowski was a genius, flawed and troubled, but a genius nevertheless.

His books were semi-autobiographical and he wrote about the seedier side of life, something I personally adore and am drawn to like moths to a light.

If you like Post Office, you should check out Factotum and Women and some of his amazing poetry - and of course he wrote the screenplay for Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke, again mostly based on his own life.

Ashley

Waterstones have Bukowski's biography in their 3 for 2 section - I still wasn't tempted.

I just didn't get much from the book.

I don't think the book came over as seedy & grimy enough. And as for his women, he'd shag them, then they would leave 5 minutes later - no explanaitions, not story leading up to the break.