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Pulp: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Charles Bukowski
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Charles Bukowski's brilliant, fantastical pastiche of a detective story. Packed with wit, invention and Bukowski's trademark lowlife adventures, it is the final novel of one of the most enjoyable and influential cult writers of the last century.

Nicky Belane, private detective and career alcoholic, is a troubled man. He is plagued not just by broads, booze, lack of cash and a raging ego, but also by the surreal jobs he's been hired to do. Not only has been hired to track down French classical author Celine - who's meant to be dead - but he's also supposed to find the elusive Red Sparrow - which may or may not be real.

Product Description


"Not since George Orwell has the condition of being down-and-out been so well recorded" (New York Times)

Book Description


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 280 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Digital (31 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060MBIP8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #118,696 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived 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 (1994).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bukowski's final novel isn't the one he'll be remembered for, but it's easily the equal of his other great novels; Post Office, Factotum & Ham on Rye.

Pulp is known as his funniest novel but there's poignancy behind the humour, as Pulp features many ruminations on death and ageing. Death is a character, but instead of a traditional cloaked skeleton, Bukowski's personification of death is a blonde vixen in a red dress, who enlists the help of a private detective to find a French novelist who has tricked her into thinking he's already dead. Throughout the novel, Lady Death keeps reminding the detective that his time will come too, echoing Bukowski's own concerns about mortality.

Familiar Bukowski staples (bars, racetracks) keep his fans happy, but the rest of the novel shows a more surreal side to Bukowski, which had only been previously shown in some of his short stories. Pulp's triumph is in the fact that an old writer more used to gritty realism can write a novel packed with surrealism and still pass with flying colours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tireless 22 July 2005
I hardly ever read books twice(obviously hadnt been reading the right books), Pulp was the first one that i knew i could quite easily pick up and saunter into. It holds, in a diluted form, everything that i know Bukowski for. In my opinion its an impulsive read and really enjoyable while still maintaining the grit that Bukowski wrote on. Good fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Reduce Flight Time and arrive Refreshed 30 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the back cover informs us, 'Pulp' is a fantastical pastiche of a detective story. True in one sense, but this gem of a novel is far more than that. For behind the joyful facade of the quick-fire wise-cracks (Think, The Marx Bros interpret Raymond Chandler) there lie countless serious messages about life, how to cope with one's existence - how to do the best you can with what you've got ... Someone once said that life is known only to those who suffer, endure adversity and stumble from one defeat to another. Here, we have such examples in spadefuls. But don't despair, for it's almost hidden by the humour.
Dig deeper under the fun and you'll find re-interpretations of the work of other writers. Bukowski re-affirms Nietzsche's opinion of the human race with, 'Boring damned people. All over the earth' (154) Likewise, Virginia Woolf had clearly thought about how we cope with whatever life throws our way with, 'Thus we spin around us infinitely fine filaments and construct for ourselves a system'. Bukowski's take is: (Life is about) 'The needed machinery of the moment. And those needs keep altering'. (128) The Socratic notion that 'The unexamined life is not worth living', comes from Bukowski's pen as, 'We were all just hanging around waiting to die and meanwhile doing little things to fill the space. Some of us weren't even doing that. We were vegetables'. (147) Our indifference to polluting the planet is clearly stated in p 127, when the visiting Space-aliens decide to leave this earth. 'We've thought it over. It's too awful. We don't want to colonise this earth', and then explain why.
This book is short, and the numerous theories that come in momentarily are what give it its true strength/appeal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A farewell to us 8 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
Not the place to start reading Bukowski. This book sees the author gathering together all the various threads that have run through his life. He weaves them together to create a witty and intriguing tapestry. I read this book in one sitting and was thouroughly disheartened by the last page. The book itself could not have been better as far as I was concerned, but I knew it was the last I would hear from him. Read the other works and then come to this title as an insider - the rewards will be great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different from Chandler 20 Nov. 2009
By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
My first Bukowski novel so I didn't know what to expect. And I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. A fascinating take on the private eye 'noir' element with fantasises that take a bit of getting used to. Once you do that, this is a very funny, yet hard-hitting novel with a great character in Nick Belane. That Pulp is the author's last novel originally published in 1994, the year of the author's death, makes this a more poignant book, since Belane cannot reappear nor can we who have come late to the Bukowski party doing anything more than play catch-up.

Given that some say this is not the best work from the author, and given that I enjoyed it, it looks like I do have plenty of catching up to do.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A surreal swansong 30 April 2012
Bukowski's last novel is a bit surreal. It has more in common with his short stories than his novels. The grit is here but the plot is made of loose ends. Gumshoe Nicky Belane has adventures involving dead writers, curvaceous grim reapers and alien babes. There's also some vague nonense about a search for the Red Sparrow, which I guess is symbolic, but symbolic of what escapes me.
Despite all that there isn't enough substance to justify a novel and this should have been a short story. Belane's world is unfocused and makes little sense so at almost 200 pages it grows tiresome. I think Bukowski was trying to marry his Chinaski novels' grit with a playful parody of pulp fiction. (Pulp is "dedicated to bad writing," which seems pompous.) A better approach might have been to follow Chinaski as he tried writing a pulp. Belane is Chinaski (who's Bukowski) anyway.
If Pulp had focused on a single storyline, like the alien invasion or Lady Death's search for Celine, and beefed it up a bit, it may have worked. But it just seemed to be a lot of plot threads which appear then disappear. Maybe that's the point.
I'd recommend this novel though because it does have a lot of good moments. Isolated scenes have graceful prose about the mundanities and unfairness of life which Bukowski excelled at, like when Nicky sees a shrink or a haunting dream sequence with a dead pigeon. There's also some funny, if forgettable, dialogue; some titles from Bukowski's book collection are worked in (think Fante and McCullers), and the pulp exchanges do sometimes work as parody. Plus the ending is oddly poignant.
As a great author's swansong though this is disappointing. Okay for fans, but if you're new to Bukowski start with a Chinaski novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski is a god
He's my fave <3
Admittedly Pulp isn't his best work - he wrote is as he's dying so it's kinda a reflection on his own mortality. But still a great novel. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Koda
4.0 out of 5 stars A Final Thought From Hank
Noir with a heavy dose of the surreal and the metaphorical PULP is Bukowski's finally gift to the world before his passing. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dave
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing!
Of all his books I have read so far this one is the most confusing. I think he must have been totally pissed when he wrote most of it. Read more
Published 20 months ago by ministergerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I've read about half of the book by now, but already I personally think it's one of Bukowski's best books. Hopefully I wont be disappointed by the second half. Read more
Published on 8 Nov. 2012 by Monika
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fine.
As the title says, 'Absolutely fine.' No complaints from me whatsoever. Everything is as in the product description. Fast dispatch and cheap as chips.
Published on 1 May 2012 by bdjsleeish
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to all expectations
As with all Bukowski's books, the prose is clear and punchy. There are no wasted words, and yet his descriptions remains adept and accurate. Read more
Published on 29 April 2012 by Michael Barrie
5.0 out of 5 stars An adio letter
While you read this you must have in mind that it was his last book, written while knowing he was about to die. Read more
Published on 2 Jun. 2011 by Adrian Iacomi
5.0 out of 5 stars pulp
this was the last buk novel I needed and it came promptly and good condition. did not dissapoint. cheers
Published on 28 Jun. 2009 by N. Colyer
2.0 out of 5 stars Only recommended for diehard Bukowski fans
Having read and enjoyed other novels and poetry by Bukowski, I would say this is his weakest entry. For anyone looking to get into his work, Factoutom or Post Office should be the... Read more
Published on 9 Jun. 2009 by N. Leckie
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