Customer Reviews


74 Reviews
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if honesty really was the best policy...
This book is the story of Henry Chinaski's world. Its deep and compelling individuality is a refreshing change from conventional literary works.

In the post industrial society that I live in I am bombarded every day with signs telling me that things like my trainers, my clothes and my mp3 player are all more than they seem to be. They aren't trainers, they're...
Published on 14 Oct 2010 by Josef K

versus
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a true picuture
this is a book that fully conveys the banality and hardship of working in a backward looking place, such as a postal service, the seniority issues and sports obsessions and deranged managers all ring true. he doesn't treat his women well and some of them definitely have mental health issues, its good take on menial work and the characters you meet in such places
Published on 11 Jun 2007 by andy r


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if honesty really was the best policy..., 14 Oct 2010
By 
Josef K (Staines, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Post Office (Paperback)
This book is the story of Henry Chinaski's world. Its deep and compelling individuality is a refreshing change from conventional literary works.

In the post industrial society that I live in I am bombarded every day with signs telling me that things like my trainers, my clothes and my mp3 player are all more than they seem to be. They aren't trainers, they're running down a street alone in misty morning rain, they're fitness and health. Every day I am being sold a way of life and a dream. Reading post office is a welcome reminder that life is not dreams and images floating on screens; it is a place to live, food, drink, independence, sex and friendship.

What sets Post Office apart is the honesty it manages to convey. The thing that's missing is shame, so any good Christians who cling tightly to their shame, their key to heaven, might find Post Office a bit too sensually overwhelming. Chinaski doesn't buy into social morality, he's the model of the man who is in touch with his most basic urges. The prose is familiar and easy to read but nonetheless very clever. It is immediately and intensely ironic, funny and sad.

Bukowski has a wonderful eye for character, if a cynical one. There is a lot of beauty in the book, but not in typical places. Chinaski comes across as a man who is cleverer than everyone around him, but can't move forward because he refuses to make the compromises societies and businesses require.

There's something in this book for anyone with an eye to look and learn. Five stars, but I'd give it more if I could.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bukowski, 4 Feb 2006
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
‘PO’ is Bukowski on top (or should that be bottom?) form. It is a semi-autobiographical account of his time working (or avoiding working) for the US Postal Service, and chronicles his life both at work and at home. Henry Chinaski (Bukowski’s alter ego in many of his books) is the arch-misanthrope, an aggressive alcoholic with no desire to achieve anything other than staying alive and staying drunk. There is no romanticism in his lifestyle: it is unrelentingly visceral and grim. Women are for sex not love, work is about getting paid for doing as little as possible and life is about drinking. Even in his writing he makes no attempt to engage with his readers, who are treated with as much contempt as the rest of the world.
It is difficult to define the attraction of Bukowski, He was clearly not a nice man, and his hero, Chinaski, is not someone you would want to meet. Many aspects of him are downright repugnant, such as when he rapes a mentally ill woman, but there is something fascinating about a life that has given up on any sense of purpose, any desire for better things. Bukowski is the poet laureate for the people who don’t give a damn and, for the rest of us who still care about some things, some of the time, seeing the idea of apathy taken to its extreme is disturbing but mesmerising at the same time. I have read a lot of Bukowski, but ‘PO’ is perhaps the one that sums him up the best. It is full of the ugly side of life, so won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you are interested by Bukowski, this has to be the one to start with.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and brilliant......, 10 April 2007
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
There is a huge amount to be said for writing simplistically. Too many of today's writers allow themselves to become bogged down by elevated language and complex grammatical constructions. If a writer is truly talented, it will show through in the simplest of forms. This book is short, simple and brilliant. Bukowski captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. The book is very sad and forces the reader to ask many questions about their own life and life in general. The pity Bukowski evokes for the dog, Picasso, in just a few short words, is genius and heartbreaking. Truly talented writers don't need to hide behind fancy language. Too many books these days seem somehow 'misty' as though we are desperately trying to get to the story through a cloud of linguistic flotsam. This book achieves clarity without trying too hard or attempting to be pretentious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY THIS BOOK, 23 Jun 2003
By 
J. Newman "james_newman99" (Thailand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
This book proves that Bukowski was at his best as a writer when he was down and out. Thankfully for the reader he was mostly down and out during his prolific career, a slave to beer and whiskey and low life friends.
He gave up working for the post office and wrote this book in a matter of days. He had to produce a great book and make some money and he did so by recording his time at the Post Office. Makes you want to give up the day job and do likewise. But who could do the job as well as Buk?
For me, Post Office is Buk's best work along with Ham on Rye, Factotum and the short story collections. Bukowski uses simple language which is understandable to everyone, but there is a deep underlying sense of acceptance of life imprinted in every page. He never asks for pity, although you know he really deserves it.
This novel makes you feel good as when you read it you understand things could be worse. You could be Buk. That said, this novel is far from being depressing, quite the opposite in fact it is at times so amusing you have to put it down and laugh aloud.
If you are feeling hard done by, buy this book and learn how to laugh in the face of failure like the great Bukowski.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Office: Defining statement of the Lowlife Laureate?, 19 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
This is the first novel narrated by Bukowski's autobiographical alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. Through Chinaski, the writer tells us about the decade leading up to the start of his career as a full-time writer. He spent most of that decade working for the US Postal service.
This novel is a hilarious account of that period. The action switches back-and-forth between one world - that of hard drinking, occasional one-night stands and racetracks - and another - a grim, back-breaking struggle to keep at a job the narrator hates.
Anyone who has ever done menial work for low pay and wondered if they are going mad will recognise Chinaski's world. Few could have brought that world to life with such humour and bitterness all at once as Charles Bukowski.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chaotic, mad and wonderful, 19 Jun 2011
By 
P. Griffin "Griff" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Post Office (Paperback)
Bukowski is Chinaski. His opinions leap off the page, his visceral stench slaps you in the face, but you come back for more regardless.
I have some of Bukowski's poetry. All I can say is thank God he wrote novels as well.

Post office, as others have pointed out, is a shadow of Bukowski's life. It is a reflection, just as its protagonist Chinaski is of the writer. He is the rat in the race, he is the horse on the track and yet he bucks this label once or twice and refuses to obey, to work. He is the unhealthy side of America that no one hears about. He is the nightmare to its dream.

Bukowski writes in a raw, slap dash, grammatically incorrect, wonderful way. He prefers shock tactics and the reader either hangs on or falls off. Chinaski teters from being unemployable to downright loathsome, but- and here is a big but, like a middle aged aunt who's eaten too much- the genius of Bukowski is that he manages to make Chinaski loveable in some way. I felt like he was Yossarian from Heller's Catch 22, only on amphetamines. That dry, who gives a damn, attitude dripped from each page.

A tour de force with more emphasis placed on the force. This is beat generation at its finest, and Bukowski the conductor. Read it before you touch his poetry however.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 Dec 2007
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
While it is very much the norm in modern literature to focus on the self as the central theme of the writer's work, the novelist choses this motif at his own peril. Bukowski's grasp somewhat outstrips his reach; this is because his talent to describe a reality is so much more powerful than the material that he chooses to create that reality. Very few writers since Hemingway can set the scene and paint the stage with such remarkable economy of the written word. I see the main difference between a great writer and a good one (and Bukowski is a very good one)is the scope and breadth his material. But Hemingway's world was much larger while Bukowski binds himself too closely in his nutshell. He takes us into strange fields filled with enchanting flowers, only to describe, in breathtaking detail, a blade of grass. Bukowski's fearless approach to truth as a writer comes from (what one can only assume) is his relative poverty as a human being...however well he reveals to us in this novel the transcendental beauty of his blade of grass, we long to be able devour the scents and absorb the sunlight which we can only sense is just outside the writer's realm of experience!! I would also highly recommend reading Tino Georgiou's bestseller--The Fates--if you missed it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, 13 Nov 2003
By 
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
This book is superb in every way. In the same way that bukowski's mind was opened by fante, this book has had the same affect on me. I could become emersed forever in his writing style, effortlessly conjuring up images in your head of the life that surrounds him. His complete honesty has the power to shame and inspire in equal measures. Post Office shows how someone can take something as ordinary as their life and write about it in an extraordinary manner. Buy it. Oh and while you're at it buy ham on rye and factotum, which come very close to hitting the same heights.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It began as a mistake, 30 Oct 2013
By 
Joao Cardeira Jorge "A Bad Man" (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Post Office (Paperback)
"Post Office" is the first novel by the great Charles Bukowski. Everything that is good about his writing is displayed here. The hero, or to be honest, anti-hero, loser and drunken star of the novel is Hank Chinaski and this is the story of his career in the United States Post Office in the 60's and 70's. Chinaski cares very little for anything other than cheap liquor and even cheaper women. He bets on horses and is a keen observer of human nature. He just doesn't care about anything. He has no personal battle and he doesn't strive for anything but basic survival. Chinaski knows he's a prisoner, a pawn of the system and while he knows how rotten the whole "game" is he also recognizes the rules are fixed, the loser is always the "little man" and nothing will ever change. So he never tries to change anything, never fights but in an heroic stand also refuses to play, tries to bend the rules and the hell with it all!
This novel begins the usual Bukowski style. There is lots about women and Chinaski's troubled, unhealthy relationships that always end with him alone. "I had just lost 3 women and a dog."
There's his trademark booze and trips to the racetrack and you even get to read how Chinaski's interest in classic music, seen in later novels, began.
The best of all is how in a sad and ultimately lonely existence as Chinaski's, Bukowski is able to infuse so much humor and how well this sort of tragic comedy works. This is one funny book with classic lines in every page. There is a prevalent sense of sadness in the whole book, the sadness that permeates the life of every ordinary man just trying to make a buck but Bukowski makes the most depressing situations seem terribly real and also funny in a desperate sort of way.
But when you take away all these Bukowski trademarks what remains is the journey of a man inside a soulless, merciless machine called the US Post Office. Its the portrait of the "company man", the little cog in the machine which uses the little bit of authority to humiliate and destroy his fellow man. The brainwashed little ant who defends the company and enforces its rules with pleasure and an almost religious fervor, the poor zealot that actually believes in the company's directives. I found them all pathetic but also so sad. Sad how they went through their lives believing they really meant something, that what they were doing, exploiting and demeaning the poor bastard trying to make a living, actually had any sort of merit and worth.
Bukowski perfectly portrays the lawless and almost slave like treatment of the workers, the sadistic "soups" and how a man was nothing but an expendable, cheap tool to use and throw away when damaged. Its a sublime portrait of dehumanization by the faceless organization.
Chinaski and his tale are masterful because they feel real. This is what its like for John Doe. In 2013, in this economic crisis, Bukowski remains as current as ever. Nobody cares, nobody sees the man. Its about numbers. Its about the bureaucrats and objectives that must be reached no matter what. Bukowski's genius was how well he, not only described what living in such a world feels but also how ridiculous and ultimately pointless the whole machine is. "This kind of life is like everybody else's kind of life: it's killing us."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely brilliant, 12 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Downloaded this to read on holiday and could not put it down..! Funny, dark and witty an insight into the mundane daily grind of a postal worker and his constant battle with himself and his non conformist lifestyle.. Enjoy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Post Office
Post Office by Charles Bukowski (Paperback - 2 April 2009)
5.03
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews