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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It began as a mistake, 30 Oct. 2013
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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."
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Nov 2013 02:13:56 GMT
great review ;)

Posted on 29 Nov 2013 13:04:51 GMT
thanks mate! Cheers :D
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal

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