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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2017
Compared with Post Office and Women, Factotum is my least-favourite Bukowski novel. I say that because it broadly lacks the dark humour that makes reading about his characters' small tragedies bearable and even compelling. Still, you can't have everything, and it's important to follow the exploits of Henry Chinaski as far as the road takes him.
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on 1 May 2017
As expected.quick delivery.thank u
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on 24 June 2017
A classic - A must read along with all other Bukowski works/

Short tales for easy pick ups
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A classic thought provoking story told in vivid detail.
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on 26 July 2017
Was in Italian. I don't speak or read Italian :'(
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on 26 August 2013
"Factotum" is an extraordinary novel which embodies both comedy and tragedy and offers a portrait of a truly magnificent and complex character and a past, somewhat forgotten age. Set during the ending of WW2 and the post war America, "Factotum" chronicles the life of Henry Chinaski, Charles Bukowski's alter ego. Chinaski is the complete anti-hero. He's a loser but because he choses to be. Chinaski loses by default, on his terms. If one does not fight he can never truly be defeated. Chinaski goes from a horrible job to the next, drinking as much as he can afford and going from one dysfunctional relationship to another. He's a rebel but one that surrenders before the revolution even starts. He comes dangerously close to nihilism but deep down Chinaski has beliefs. He hates "the man". He hates how the poor and helpless are mercilessly exploited and used as tools for "a pitiful buck and a quarter an hour". He admits defeat, he knows things will never change and he even knows he must play the "game" but what I found to be honorable and even heroic is that he never compromises. He plays by his own rules with complete disregard for the consequences. And when the time comes he faces it like a man! Henry Chinaski just doesn't give a damn and I deeply respect him for that!
Bukowski's writing style is raw and brutal. He's dirty and disgusting and very graphic. He writes with a very appealing, dry wit and with a beautiful simplicity that makes his prose addicting to read. The book is divided into small chapters, each of them almost short-stories dealing with women, alcoholism and of course the odyssey of jobs from where Chinaski keeps getting fired. There's no Chinaski without women and booze but unlike other Bukowski novels, "Factotum"'s goal is to paint a portrait of its time and how the desperate men and women of the working class were (still are?) used as a cheap disposable and unlimited resource in the service of capital. Between all the Chinaski drunken antics and failed romances and cheap sex there's a sense of gloom and tragedy and even dehumanization in every page. The brilliance of Bukowski is how he mixes both comedy and pain and manages to insert Chinaski's black humor in even the darkest moments of human misery and desolate existence.
"Factotum" is moving, thought provoking, sleazy and glorious. Its funny and sad or better yet, sad in a funny way! I wish I could have a whiskey with Henry Chinaski. Even one of those cheap ones you get at a crummy bar with your last dollar when you're down on your luck and had a really lousy day. Which I guess is always! At least for Hank Chinaski.
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on 31 July 2014
This is Charles Bukowski's second novel. He began writing it in 1972, got stuck for a while, and it was eventually published in 1975. It contains all the classic elements of Bukowski's writing: sparse prose, autobiographical style, sneering at authority, alcoholism, sex, isolation, alienation, the individual as survivor despite constant self-destructive behaviour. It takes the reader through the dead end jobs of his twenties (the 1940s), his classification as 4-F by the army draft, and his relationship with his girlfriend Jan (Jane Cooney Baker). It is only 163 pages long but a gripping read.

While I enjoy Bukowski's prose, I found myself routinely disbelieving many of the punchlines of the anecdotes. I note that Bukowski himself said that his books were fiction, telling Nando Pivano it was 95% truth 5% fiction, and Marc Chenetier that it was 90% and 10%. Barry Miles in his biography estimates that "The percentage is probably closer to 50% fact, 50% fantasy". I also note that despite his alcoholism and regular rejection of work opportunities, Bukowski never hit skid row, and even during the time covered by this book lived with his parents for almost two years (though Bukowski prefers not to mention this in "Factotum", other than that he stayed until he could afford to move out, implying it was just a few weeks). Because of the many versions of events told to a number of people, it is impossible to know the real truth , for instance Barry Miles writes regarding Jan (Jane), that she was only the second woman to have sex with Charles (age 27 when he met her). This seems very likely to me, given the level of social anxiety of the young Bukowski, but it is at odds with the man of the world of "Factotum".

However what is true and what is myth-making does not matter. This is Charles Bukowski in all his gritty sparse readable prose giving voice to the alienated lonely embittered parts of ourselves.
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on 28 July 2004
Just picked up Factotum by Bukowski, after reading The Losers Club by Richard Perez. Strange 'cause both books are somehow related. The connection? The drudgery of menial work! The dehumanizing affects of a life-wasting occupation is an underlying theme, mixed with accounts of failed relationships and an overall freefloating narrative structure. In Factotum, Buk recounts his mostly autobiographical adventures as a floating unemployed (and often unemployable) menial worker. He travels from state to state, writing and collecting rejection letters from magazines, and tries to deal with the unending humiliation of low-paying jobs and rat-trap apartments and fragile relationships. Often, he ends up hitting the bottle and, in bars, ends up meeting up with fellow drunks and losers and desperate ladies struggling to scrape by. There's humor here but also a lot of truth, some it stark and grim. One line that blew me away, gave me chills was: "Ain't no women on skid row." This was over Chinaski's anxiety regarding a female drinking companion. The style of the book is simple and easy and direct, and I found myself sucked into it right away. A child could read this book. I also read the whole book in one day, which for me is a first. Definitely pick up a copy of this novel. It's not as famous as his other novels, but as a memorable account/study of a "working stiff," worth owning, especially if you like Buk and his "down and out" view of life and appreciate his humor.
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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2005
This book is not uplifting. Bukowski pulls no punches in his description of a writer fighting for success, while fighting a losing battle against his own demons and apathy. Simply can't believe someone turned this into a film. Bukowski simply has to be read as a great American writer, shining a light on a part of America in the twentieth century that is not often looked at. His style is economical and fast paced, and you swiftly get drawn into a tale of characters doing really very little except messing up their lives. Don't read it when your down and alone.
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on 11 March 2017
I threw it in the bin. It was in Italian and I am English. Don't buy from these numpties.
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