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Tales of Ordinary Madness [Paperback]

Charles Bukowski
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

7 Feb 2008

Inspired by D.H. Lawrence, Chekhov and Hemingway, Bukowski's writing is passionate, extreme and has attracted a cult following, while his life was as weird and wild as the tales he wrote. This collection of short stories gives an insight into the dark, dangerous lowlife of Los Angeles that Bukowski inhabited.

From prostitutes to classical music, Bukowski ingeniously mixes high and low culture in his 'tales of ordinary madness'. These are angry yet tender, humorous and haunting portrayals of life in the underbelly of Los Angeles.

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Tales of Ordinary Madness + Notes of a Dirty Old Man + The Most Beautiful Woman in Town
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (7 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753513870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753513873
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.2 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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).

Product Description


"Dirty realism from the godfather of lowlife literature" (Uncut)

Book Description

More semi-autobiographical short stories from cult writer Charles Bukowski

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best collection 20 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read (as far as I know) all of Bukowski's stuff. I love a few of the poems but a lot of them drift over me. It is with the stories that he has won me over. All the novels (especially Post Office and Ham on Rye) are wonderful, but his writing is best suited to short stories (and I would say the novels Factotum and Women, great as they are, are basically a novelised series of short stories...) The best collections of short stories are The Most Beautiful Woman In Town and this one, with this one the more consistent. There are examples of the short story in this book that I firmly believe could not be bettered, enough to make you put the book down for a minute, just to think about what you've read, and just marvel at the sheer word-economical perfection, and how his incredible turn of phrase can sum up inner thoughts and philosophies with a paucity of words. As long as you're not easily offended, there is plenty here to blow you away.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anything but Ordinary 3 Oct 2000
By A Customer
In TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS Charles Bukowski does what very few can. He finds the poetry in real people who live miserable lives in miserable conditions, mostly by their own doing. There is very little to recommend in these characters. Like Bukowski, most of them are unemployed drunks, dirty old men, sexual degenerates, and morally stripped souls. They form a subculture that perpetuates and sustains itself as long as the liquor keeps flowing (and it does), the women keep giving (and they do ... and do), and the men continue indulging (and they do ... and do ... and do). And yet, the reader is transfixed. For better or worse (usually worse), the reader chooses to enter Bukowski's world, takes a perverse delight in the goings-on, lingers and tarries, knowing that he or she can escape from the pits of hell at will, revisiting when the urge strikes. Better yet, there is no hangover in the morning. TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS is a collection of short stories, united by themes of desperation, loneliness, dead-end jobs, sexual perversion, and a need for real connection in an alienated, disturbed world. In these stories there is truly something of the profane and sacred, irreverent and holy, indifferent and feeling. The stories stay with one long after the reading is over. Bukowski's writing style is as nonconforming as his person. He doesn't always adhere to the rules of syntax, but this only serves to visibly, or tangibly, underscore the more abstract originality of the stories and situations themselves. Bukowski isn't for everyone. The writing is fierce, sexually explicit, unforgiving, and yet so totally true to the characters and their lives that it never seems overdone, affected, false. Through his words, Bukowski manages to transform the ordinary into something great.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I consider this book a psychic litmus test. 3 Mar 1999
By A Customer
I recently loaned this book to my girlfriend. I haven't gotten a review from her yet, but if she likes it, I just may marry her. This is the best of all of Bukowski's great works. The words are so powerful and prophetic they have driven me to drink on several occasions. This book illustrates Bukowski in his best medium, the short story. A .45 To Pay the Rent is beautiful, and Animal Crackers in my Soup blew me away. READ THIS BOOK!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski At One Of His Best. 26 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Here is one of those wacky collection of stories from the master of the street-printed word.Described in explicit detail are the honest remarks of a man insistently wounded by life & himself but still manages to gulp that last pint of strength to get through another day.The common themes of drunkenness,women,sex,bad jobs,bad apartments & roominghouses,scathingly biting attacks at society equaled with moving ones of tenderness etc.(mirrors of his life)are blurted in stabbing narrtives of world weary wisdom that makes the downtrodden character seem better off than anyone else.And theres even a modern take on the supernatural in the last tale.The quality of Hank's writing in this is him at his peak,showing the work of a man inspired compared to the mellow superficial tones of boredom that dopminate his last works.Modern society has never really had a poet to really call it's own;& in this book,together with his best,Hank stakes claim to his throne.
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5.0 out of 5 stars tales of ordinary madness 9 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
purchased as a present and he is very pleased with it arrived quickly and the packaging was perfect so all fine
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the perfect 5/5 Charlie 20 Oct 2013
A nice collection of stories between reality and fantasy. I really enjoyed some stories, while some one else bored me a bit.
The godo thing about Bukowski is that he's not lengthy - sometimes he's always too much concise.
A good book in the sum, 4 stars imho.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why We Love Hank 23 Aug 2013
By Dave
There's a richness to old Hank's flirtations with insanity on the edges of skid row. Some of the short stories contained are the manic old man at his absolute best, some are so chaotic and dense that the true value will only be unearthed with multiple readings and others are written for magazines for money. He's a writer unlike any other, polarising sure but intense. He feels every word and doesn't just ponce around in the shallow waters of fashionable genres like so many writers who got/get fat and rich and lazy.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty 28 July 2014
Pornographic, badly written by a carefree Bukowski. Elements were okay, but I couldn’t read it all because it was repetitive, filled with anger of the same kind throughout. This is nothing clever, unlike his other books Eg Women, Ham on Rye and Post Office
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Bitter-sweet
A champion book, though you best not be expecting the cover that is advertised.
Published 1 day ago by B. Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 days ago by K. Oolep
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect
I was completely stunned by the book's conditions. The description said it was second-hand but it actually looks like brand-new. Shipping time was grand as well.
Published 14 months ago by Jacopo
5.0 out of 5 stars Crass, yet unpretentious
Tales of Ordinary Madness was the collection that first introduced me to Charles Bukowski - and it was also the collection that would introduce to one of my favourite authors. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Carol A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book...
Wonderful book. The master of dirty realism/transgressive fiction - he came before the likes of Morton Bain, Chuck Palahniuk and Michel Houellebecq. Read more
Published 20 months ago by J. Craven
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Was told about the post office and bought this on a whim, and I'm glad I got it. Some of the stories were very surreal. But very good.
Published on 15 Jan 2012 by Mills2010
2.0 out of 5 stars I'll need some persuading to read Bukowski again...
Having never read any Bukowski before, I thought I would start with this collection of short stories. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2009 by A Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski = my favourite writer
Charles Bukowski is my favourite writer but here in this collection of short stories he seems to have lost the plot. Read more
Published on 3 July 2008 by Bren Ray Cyrus
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