Charles Bukowski Paperback – 8 Jan 2009
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"Bolstered by material from Bukowski s bruise-covered childhood and his befogged bus-riding young manhood that other biographers have scanted." New York Times"
"Bolstered by material from Bukowski's bruise-covered childhood and his befogged bus-riding young manhood that other biographers have scanted." --New York Times
THE DEFINITIVE BUKOWSKI STORY IN MASS MARKET PAPERBACK FOR THE FIRST TIMESee all Product description
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Miles is excellent at teasing apart the man and the myth through analysis of Bukowski's life - even though I feel he relies on Bukowski's 'Ham on Rye' a bit too heavily at times.
This book is recommended to those who want to get behind the alcoholic bravado of Bukowski & glimpse the more mundane and unglamourised aspects of the poet's life. Out of this the subject emerges far more relatable to and, dare i say, less like his self-image than I'd imagined.
Unfortunately, i can't compare this book to other biographies on Bukowski. It is certainly worth a purchase if you're a fan but I was hoping for a bit more depth from Miles. He passes over many of the periods of Bukowski's life quickly and without offering too many different perspectives from those who knew him I feel. The fact Bukowski was a loner probably doesn't help either. So, all in all, a bit too thin on the details for me.
What's evident is that Bukowski's often self-imposed alienation from the world stems from his relationship to his father (authority) and his deforming childhood illness (severe acne vulgaris) that marked him for life. From childhood on this was the equation in Bukowski's mind: people = pain. And from early in his life he distrusted anyone who tried coming close, his fear often turning to paranoia, which often led to a vicious acting out ("cut them before they cut me") mentality.
Charles Bukowski is a unique American artist. His contempt for the "American dream" allowed him to say things few American authors dared. His unpolished writing style underscored his contempt for conformity and formal education. He despised the American Academics, who he viewed as unwilling to take serious risks -- and too comfortable in their tenured positions. Ultimately, Bukowski loathed the moniker of "poet" and saw himself as simply a man of the street, without title or position. His self-appointed task was to do away with any pretension and speak the truth as he experienced it, from his low social standpoint.
I enjoyed this biography from Barry Miles, whose writing style makes this book a pleasure to read. Two other Amazon titles (relating to Bukowski) I need to recommend are "Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life" by Howard Sounces and "The Losers' Club" by Richard Perez (in which Bukowski, more or less, appears as a character).
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There were a few interesting things that were uncovered through research - histories of some of Buk's women, for example. Unfortunately, there were far too many case where the author jumps around in time, for no good reason. He'll be talking about Bukowski publishing a book in the 70s and then jump back and have a few sentences about 66 when Bukowski did something strange when he was drunk. C'mon! If there were good dramatic reason for it (the Godfather films, for example) I'm all for it. Here is just seems sloppy.
This is an example of how the author figures out if something really happened or not (I'm paraphrasing here): "Bukowski wrote about this a few different times, so it must be at least somewhat true!" Thanks pal, I could've figured that one out! The author does this repeatedly and it gets tiring. Sometimes, the author tracks down someone who was actually there, but not often.
I really only gave this 2 stars because it's about BUKOWSKI, which is welcome. I could even tolerate the weird "proving" of events. But I cannot stand the jumping around, it's distracting. Peace.