Top positive review
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He didn't just write books about alcoholics and poverty.
on 29 December 2006
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.