on 16 February 2005
This book of short stories is incredible. There is nothing else that I have read that is as incredibly honest, frank, simple yet so exceptionaly emotive. I would recomend this book to anybody. Strangely I was expecting this book to be depressive, but much on the contrary reading left me feeling much happier. True the book is not a fairy tale, or anything close, but yet with its transparency and clearness on how Henry Chinaski stumbles though life, it leaves you with a feeling that, sure life can be awful, but that makes you appreciate what you have so much.
A must have book.
on 14 May 1997
I've read a lot of Bukowski, and this one is unique. The stories in this book are amazingly depressing and uplifting, all at the same time. It's both the subject matter and the way the stories are told that makes it so powerful. Definitely something to check out: a great starting point for Bukowski newbies and also amazing for those who've read other things he has written. Highly recommended.
on 24 April 1998
South of No North was one of the first Bukowski works that I read and it was the one that reeled me in like a fish. A fantastic work of great scope and understanding. This book speaks to you in a way that few will. It speaks to every part of you - the mind, heart, soul, conscious, unconscious, etc. This is a must for anyone interested in a plain, honest treatment of human life with all of its peaks and valleys.
on 14 August 2013
Some of the most striking, powerful, and down-trodded prose you're ever likely to read. Memorising and maniacal in equal measure. One or two shorts show the influence of Fante's work in a way that's beautifull evolutionary.
on 21 June 1996
South of No North, by Charles Bukowski, is a collection of short stories. Bukowski started writing short stories twenty years
before he hit the poetry -- the bottle was in between and, seemingly, forever -- and his stories are haunting. You will find
where he started, in stories that include glimpses into his "lost" years when he was a drifting worker and bum. When he works
in the deseret carying railroad ties, you feel the slivers in his gloveless hands, and you feel what it may have been that drove
him to all the rest. South of No North is his early best.
on 29 October 2013
Beautiful cover, amazing title. So that's good.
Charles Bukowski is obviously a very talented writer, but reading a whole book crammed full of depressing, drunken, violent and sexually explicit short stories was a little tough going. Don't get me wrong, there are more than a few gems, but by the end I was left a little dead inside.
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) had a gift for creating evocative titles. The title of this book, "South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life" (1975) captures hauntingly the sense of loneliness, alienation, and aloneness that underlies the 27 short stories in this volume.
Bukowski began writing short stories at an early age while he supported himself doing odd jobs and through work at the Post Office. He then turned to poetry and, eventually, to writing novels at the urging of John Martin of Black Sparrow Press. Bukowski continued to write stories and columns for underground newspapers in Los Angeles. Some of the stories are included here.
As are the novels, Bukowski's stories are raw and gritty. They are filled with life in Los Angeles flophouses and cheap rooming houses. The stories feature chronic alcoholism, crude sexuality, sexual frustration, horseplaying, violence, and joblessness. They are a chronicle of the life of the down-and-outer.
Many of the stories are told in the voice of Henry Chinaski, the autobiographical character that is at the center of Bukowski's novels. But interestingly, some of the stories in this collection feature other characters and settings. The collection includes, for example a fanciful story set in the old West, "Stop Staring ... Mister", and stories with imaginative, if macabre themes, including "No way to Paradise", "Maja Thurup" and "The Devil was Hot".
The dominant impression these stories convey is one of loneliness and isolation. Whether the character is Chinaski or another individual, Bukowski writes of individuals who lack social connectedness and sense of purpose. His characters are perpetual outsiders who mock a world they cannot share and simultaneously tear themselves apart. Dostoevsky's Underground Man is a distant cousin of most of the characters we meet in Bukowski's stories. Another book that I find similar in tone, set in New York City rather than the west coast is Hubert Selby's "Last Exit to Brooklyn" which shares much of the grimness, loneliness, sexual obsession, and search for love that I find in Bukowski.
Some of the works included in this collection are more vignettes than short stories. There is little in the way of development and in some cases the climax of the story is nonexistent or misfires. There are interesting settings, however, in many of these stories and as sketches many of them work well.
The stories that exemplify the theme of loneliness for me include the first one in the collection, titled "Loneliness" and the story "Remember Pearl Harbor?" which tells of Chinaski's rejection for military service in WW II. These stories are good at sketching the nature of the rootless, lonely individual. Some of the other stories in this collection that I thought good are "Bop Bop against that Curtain", "Christ on Rollerskates", "Hit Man", "Pittsburgh Phil & Co" (a fine story about gambling at the racetrack) and "Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts."
Bukowski writes simply with short sentences in a style filled with explecatives and references to sexual and excrecatory functions. I became interested in Bukowski's writings several years ago, put them aside, and then reread some of them after viewing an excellent film on Bukowski's life: "Bukowski: Born into This". Bukowski is hardly a writer for all times and all seasons. But there is a toughness and raw humor in these books, and a sense of loss and sadness that make Bukowski's books highly evocative of certain kinds of blue and lonely feelings. The stories are metaphors of a buried life than many people see in themeselves at times in somewhat different ways than the ways presented in Bukowski's writings. That is why, I think, Bukowski continues to have a following and to be read.
on 14 May 2012
Bukowski's prose is rich, whilst still maintaining a show rather than tell style, and there is much to admire in the writing. His short stories are often only a thousand words or so, but are vivid and engaging, and it's clear why Time magazine labelled him the `laureate of American low life'. And even though the stories in South of No North clearly relate to his own life, especially those focused on Henry Chinaski (his childhood acne, his chronic alcoholism, his endless succession of jobs, his movement between cheap rooming houses, his womanising, his experience of writing, his marriage to a Texan poet despite having never met, his time in hospital), they are also, it has to be said, quite troubling. Through his writing he comes across as a full-blown misogynist, with women acting purely as sexual objects. There are three ways to a woman's heart in Bukowski's writing - ply them with drink (preferably a fifth of whiskey), just walk right up to them and kiss them, or rape them. In all three cases they will instantly fall in love with you, dump (or kill) their present boyfriend, and leap in bed with you until they realise that you are the bastard that they always knew you were. Queue big argument, storm out, five minutes of feeling sorry for one's self, and then stealing the next woman to come along. That said, there is much to envy in Bukowski's writing prowess and prose. American low life, indeed.
on 7 February 2010
This is a fantastic book. Vivid imagery, harsh portraits of real life, often funny and expressed with raw power. Mainly short stories good to dip in to for inspiration and entertainment. I have read the stories many times and am still be absorbed by their insight. The man understood life and had a rare gift. buy this book. Enjoy.
on 20 August 2015
Am tired to write reviews for
People to buy. I'd like to write reviews for people who love literature. If you love literature, buy this book.