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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable
This is not an easy read. Its vulgar and lurid and many times even disgusting. It is also completely fascinating. It feels real. Bukowski is brutally honest about his character and alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. This is not a man you root for. Chinaski is deeply flawed, a deviant with no redeeming quality or the slightest inclination for redemption. Bukowski is never...
Published on 23 Jun. 2013 by Joao Cardeira Jorge

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Buko but a bit... boring
I popped my Bukowski cherry with Post Office and was enthralled, and my enchantment lasted through Ham on Rye, his short story collections, Pulp and some poetry collections. Most recently I read the excellent biography Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life. It's not like I am unfamiliar with the themes and style of Mr B is what I'm saying. But Women really...
Published on 26 Sept. 2007 by S. J. Lynch


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, 23 Jun. 2013
By 
Joao Cardeira Jorge "A Bad Man" (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
This is not an easy read. Its vulgar and lurid and many times even disgusting. It is also completely fascinating. It feels real. Bukowski is brutally honest about his character and alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. This is not a man you root for. Chinaski is deeply flawed, a deviant with no redeeming quality or the slightest inclination for redemption. Bukowski is never apologetic or manipulative. He's just raw, authentic and merciless in his portrayal of Chinaski. And what a surprise it is that in a narrative about a man so blemished, so easy to hate, Bukowski manages to have some truly sensitive moments and create a character that is more pathetic and sad than perverse.
"Women" is a portrait of its time through Bukowski's characters. There's a crushing hopelessness in everyone, a sense of being lost, looking for a meaning, looking for something to make life worth living. In a sense, Chinaski is the most tragic of the characters in the book as he has given up on... well everything. He knows there is no happy ending for him and he has no expectations. In a way he doesn't even desire happiness. Its too much trouble for him. He uses women as a way to fend off death. He's bitter, a cynic and he's isolated in his own world and hates everyone else and the way they live. Alcohol and women are his way to deal with how empty his existence is and how his time is nearing its end. They're ways to forget and to make his reality bearable. As he uses them, the women use him back. He's an old, sad alcoholic and each woman uses him, trying to find in him that which is missing in their existence. He's famous and they constructed a "picture" of him, from his literary work and his fame as a womanizer. They seek him, waiting to find the man in their imagination and when they finally see the "real" man behind the "persona" they are abhorred and sickened and they leave having failed to find in him what they needed. He is discarded mercilessly. Considered a failure.
Bukowski's writing is coarse and crude and almost hypnotic. He has brilliant lines with some magnificent insight into human nature. I couldn't stop reading it.
The book touches multiple subjects, from loneliness to mental illness and alcoholism. It deals with relationships, with a bluntness that is sometimes hard to accept. Most if not all the characters are disturbed, sleazy and completely irresistible in their seedy nature. There is something compulsory in Chinaski's world, like a bad car accident you just can't look away.
And there is something about Henry Chinaski that just sticks with you. He's so completely screwed up that he's somewhat endearing. Its the way he's honest about himself and how he knows what a mess he is and how he found a way to live with himself that sets him apart. Chinaski lives as he wants, indulges himself and makes no apologies. In the end, for me, there is something deeply honorable and even brave in that.
Whatever is said of Bukowski or "Women" one thing is certain. No one is indifferent to the man or its work. No matter how you feel about it, that's an achievement and one that only the great can attain.
"Women" is disturbing, dirty and shocking. Its also sublime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chinaski's Women, 20 Sept. 2013
By 
Robin Friedman (Washington, D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
I eread Bukowski's novel, "Women", (1975) after seeing the film documentary, "Bukowski: Born into This" which offers a compelling picture of "Buk's" life replete with interviews of Bukowski, his women, and friends.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was born in Germany but his family moved to the United States when he was three. He wandered around the country for some years living in cheap rooming houses and drinking. He worked as a laborer and for the post office for many years and wrote poems and stories in his spare time. His work gradually attracted a following and was published by Black Sparrow Press. He achieved substantial acclaim before his death and his work continues to be read. It is low-down, graphic, and visceral.

Bukowski's novel "Women" (1975), is told in the voice of a character called Henry Chinaski, as are many other Bukowski novels. The book is largely autobiographical, but the use of a fictitous narrator provides a certain distance from its author, and deliberately so. During the course of "Women", Chinaski remarks more than once how his (Chinaski's) character differs to some degree from the public perception. I find it useful to remember the tension between the fictional Chinaski and the actual Bukowski in reading Bukowski's novels.

"Women" begins when Chinaski is 50 years old and is lamenting his lengthy lack of a sexual relationship with a woman. This lack is soon remedied during the course of the novel. Much of the story consists of a recounting of Chinaski's encounters with many women, most of whom are much younger than he is. Some of these encounters are brief one night stands, others continue over a period of time. Sometimes the women appear with Chinaski, leave, and then come back. Many of the women seem, in the story, genuinely drawn to Chinaski. He meets many of them through the poetry readings he gave at colleges and bars after his work acquired noteriety. Chinaski himself seems attached to at least some of these women -- perhaps more so than he would have his reader believe.

The activities of the characters are simply, bluntly, and clearly described and will not appeal to all readers. There is a great deal of emphasis on sex, on excretory functions, on endless drinking, horseplaying, and some drug use. Some readers will also take offense at Chinaski/Bukowski's attitude towards women, focused as it is on physical appearance and sexual activity.

I found the book engagingly written with its in-your-face attitude. It is gritty and realistic and describes Chinaski and his east Hollywood environs well. Many of the scenes are funny and perceptive as Chinaski mocks himself and his life. There is sexual honesty in the book as well as Chinaski shows us his failures -- which are frequent due to his alcoholism -- as well as the women that get away.

The book shows a degree of reflectiveness that is easy to overlook on first reading. There are times when Chinaski enjoys and glorifies his life with his sexual conquests and drink but many passages in the book suggest second thoughts and feelings of guilt. Thus, in a passage near the end of the book, which I will expurgate and abridge, Chinaski says ( "Women" p.236)

"I walked away feeling worse and worse. ... I could certainly play some nasty, unreal games. What was my motive? Was I trying to get even for something. .... I tinkered with lives and souls as if they were my playthings. How could I call myself a man? ... The worst part of it was that I passed myself off for exactly what I wasn't -- a good man. I was able to enter people's lives because of their trust in me. I was doing my dirty work the easy way."

There is a great deal, then, of the cult figure Chinanski/Bukowski in this book but there is more than that. Bukowski may not be to everyone's liking and he should not be any reader's sole literary fare. But there is something in the books beyond the bluster, the self-pity, and the public image. "Women" is worth reading.

Robin Friedman
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women, Love, Life...Bukowski Style!,, 26 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
For those of you who are interested in the writings of one of the best modern American writers, Bukowski is your only choice. This, much like all of Bukowski's books, is almost entirely auto-biographical. The name is Henry Chinaski, he was a postman, he was a gambler, and now he focuses on his lovelife in WOMEN.
It's hard to get into the actual content of this book because Bukowski's books don't follow plotlines and simple three act structures. This book is simply an incredibly detailed look into Bukowski's relationships with women. From a woman who is loaded with cash to a nymphomaniac who is very violent, to a woman that has his child and then ...I'll let you get to that.
He gives very intimate and explicit accounts of experience as well as his inability to maintain a regular relationship with a female. Critics view this as bad writing, but I find it to be a very good account of the human condition, the inability of many to remain monogamous and the attempts by many to change the people the love, or at least claim to love. This a great book. I agree with another reviewer who also recommended THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez. These 2 books are my favorite recent Amazon purchases!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting memoir, 30 April 2012
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
Bukowski was often accused of misogyny, and while some poems and stories do suggest such an attitude, Women struck me as a tender novel with three-dimensional female characters. Some are angry, some are insane, some are slutty, some are just sad, like Bukowski himself.
Here is some of his best, most emotional prose. Bukowski in all his ennui is displayed, as his hero Henry Chinaksi burns through relationships like beer money.
The way he paints Lydia Vance (a thinly-veiled version of his girlfriend Linda King) is fascinating. She's psychotic but hypnotising, a ball of raw sexual energy whose life force blinds Chinaski to her rages. I don't know how much King was really like this - I'm sure Bukowski put himself in a flattering light on purpose - but if you regard Vance as just a character she's very compelling. When I picture her she always appears as she does in an early scene, throwing and catching an orange in a dimly lit room.
There's a lot of eye-watering sexual detail which will turn off some readers, but I like that about Women. It's a personal novel, about a life which wasn't mannered or pleasant. Chinaski greets each day by vomiting, then proceeds to drink until he feels like vomiting again. He also writes and has sex.
What I like most about Women is its emotional core. This is in some ways a tragic novel, as Chinaski makes love to, discards and is discarded by women who sometimes share his loneliness. A great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious, Bukowski at his best!, 7 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Women (Paperback)
After reading Post Office (in which I enjoyed) my friend Dan gave me this one to read in which I found was alot funnier. It's Bukowski at his wise cracking best telling the story of how he went from being a down and out loser, knowing nothing about women to being a poetic winner with the advantage of choosing which woman he wanted to take to bed with. This is well worth reading if you are guy having woman trouble or if you're a man down on his luck with women. It's more about Bukowski and the intense relationships he shared with his girlfriends and some of the one night stands he had with fans of his. Anyway, it's a brilliant book peppered with humor and laugh out loud moments in which are too timeless to miss out on, some of the lines he came out with I was still laughing at for weeks later. I can't recommend you read this book more!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Women women everywhere, 17 May 2012
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This review is from: Women (Paperback)
Lots of reviewers seem to think that this book gives an unrealistic view of women.

However I think the point with this book is that Chinaksi realises the situation is unrealistic himself - he repeatedly finds himself amazed at his good luck - 'the gods were smiling' etc... He is of course a famous author - maybe women DO behave with unrestrained sexual abandon towards the famous. Certainly, women always go for successful charismatic men, however overweight, alcoholic, or old they are. (HG Wells was an ugly git apparently but a massive hit with the ladies, even strong female icons like Rebecca West).

I enjoyed it anyway. It had a lot of sex and drinking, a dash of literary rumination, too few flashes of true poetry (p236!) and it ripped along like Tammie on uppers.

Something to aspire to!
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Really Made Me Laugh, 28 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
Women by Charles Bukowski is definitely a book worth owning, if you don't mind the kind of book that is often a little vulgar, raw, and yes "real." The story revolves, of course, around Buk's relationships with women, and the accounts themselves are totally hilarious and side-splitting. It's also one of those rare accounts of a man "past his prime" taking a final stab at the game of romance. It starts out with an account of Chinaski admitting he's a "loser." Dig this: "I was 50 years old and hadn't been to bed with a woman for four years...the idea of having a relationship with a woman -- even on non-sexual terms -- was beyond my imagination." Right then, from page one, I was hooked. The book then proceeds to show his disastrous attempts at altering this situation -- and the results are just hilarious! And it's the humor that makes this novel work. Next to The Losers Club by Richard Perez, which is also about relationships and the humiliation of daily life, Women by Charles Bukowski is by far the most fun I've had reading this year! Buy it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars really funny!, 22 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
I always wanted to read Bukowski, but somehow it never happened yet. When I told a friend that I read Nick Cave's Bunny Munroe he said that I have to read Bukowski first to fully understand Cave's novel. He highly recommended to start the Bukowski novels with his most popular being also the most typical one... "Women". So he borrowed me this book and I went for it. It is really a hilarious story of a 50 years old man who lives the sex, drugs, rock'n'roll stereotype, unbelievable! This story is so unbelievable, that it is funny again. Of course now I can see the connection of the character of Bunny Munroe by Nick Cave too, so Bukowski did it first! I really liked the book and I took all the anti-feminism ironic, otherwise I think you cannot stand reading it... but this is so funny! I will go on... :)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's funny, and indeed it's very funny, 11 May 2010
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
This is...

... appears to be Charles Bukowski's alter ego - Henry Chinowski's autobiographical account of a short period in his hedonistic life.

It's not clear how much of this maps onto Bukowski's own autobiography, but I suppose it is set in the the 1970's, and Bukowski's photo portraits do suggest that he lived a hard life ... I think the strongest evidence is that this book is so funny. I don't believe you can write such funny stuff, unless you've lived at least part of it, even if you do embellish it a little.

Anyway, this book is about Chinowski, his series of women, his alcoholism and touches a little on his poetry performances. He does seem to get through his fair share of beautiful and willing young women; he does seem to have more than his fair share of hangovers, and he punctuates these with sporadic poetry readings, which appear to give him opportunity to line himself up with the next beautiful and willing young woman.

This should make it sound like a series of events in the stream-of-thought genre of novel-writing, which is what it is. Bukowski is self-aware enough to paint in the flaws (his own flaws we think?) of a self-absorbed artist and the dysfunction of the life, giving the pathos to what could be interpreted as meaningless and plot-less diary-keeping. However as I've said, it's funny, and indeed it's very funny. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A true lover., 24 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Women (Paperback)
Very very candid view of life of a writer steeped in alcohol and lover of women. With little plot of story, Charles was able to keep me turning pages intrigued and mesmerised with the protagonists weird and infantile lifestyle. I cannot make much criticism of the hero as Charles has taken the liberty of critically analysing him through the many lover women making a new entry on every other page. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read, though sexually explicit but filled with very funny anecdotes. Charles definitely has his own unique style which has to be read to be really appreciated.
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Women by Charles Bukowski (Paperback - 8 Jan. 2009)
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