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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Women by Charles Bukowski

As soon as I finished reading this book I got up and threw it in the trash. It felt like I was returning it where it belonged.

Charles Bukowski's protagonist, alcoholic poet Henry Chinaski, is known to be an autobiographical alter-ego of the author himself. So I can only assume that Mr. Bukowski is just as much of an asshole as his narrator.

"Women" follows Chinaski, a former post office clerk turned poet experiencing some late-in-life success, as he uses his new found fame to sleep with and mistreat as many women as he can. That's the whole plot. On it's own it would merely be repetitive and disinteresting, but the real travesty is not in the way Chinaski treats women but in the way the author does. Bukowski treats the women of this story exactly as Chinaski does. To him they are all alike, all crazy and, maddeningly, all worthy of the atrocious treatment they receive.

People like Chinaski, and I must assume Bukowski, are neanderthals. They believe that human beings are just base animals, and that they are being brave and honest by admitting it and giving in to it. Humanity is a joke to people like them.

If anyone told me that Bukowski was their favorite author I would walk away from that person immediately.

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