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Ham on Rye: A Novel Paperback – Jul 29 2014
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Charles Bukowski's fourth novel, Ham on Rye, is the semi-autobiographical story of the early years of his alter ego Henry Chinaski. It is a finely written and honest account of the painful childhood of a boy marked out from his peers. Regularly beaten by his father, Chinaski is shown growing through his difficult and violent adolescence (struck with the worst case of acne his doctors have ever seen) through to the first jobs he can't and won't hold down. In this moving story of growing up Bukowski disciplines his muscular, concentrated writing and creates a novel that distils his poetry into the finest full-length piece of prose that he ever wrote. Bukowski is often good but in Ham on Rye he's great.
Sadly, best known as the alcoholic inspiration for the film Barfly (an experience he reflected on in his book Hollywood), it is as a poet, rather than a drunk, that Bukowski should be best remembered. His bitter, caustic, direct, humane, damaged poetry reflects a life dominated by poverty and booze. His poetry stretches over many, many volumes but Bukowski also wrote great novels: all of them have many faults but the first four books he wrote shine for similar reasons. Post Office and Factotum both dissect, quite brilliantly, the life of an angry, poor man forced to do mindless jobs, pushed around and considered mindless by the fools who force him to do them. Women, as Roddy Doyle points out in his short introduction, continues the themes but focuses on the numerous women who share his hero's bed and bottle. --Mark Thwaite --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'Very funny, very sad, and despite its self-congratulatory tone, honest in most of the right places. In many ways, Bukowski may have been the perfect writer to describe post-war southern California - a land of wide, flat spaces with nothing worth seeing, so you might as well vanish into yourself. In an age of conformity, Bukowski wrote about the people nobody wanted to be: the ugly, the selfish, the lonely, the mad.' - The Observer --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
i finished this book in one day, laughing and shaking my head at some of the things bukowski had to go through.
this book is more polished than post office, factotum, et all, and it's still a very fun read.
Most recent customer reviews
It's a really good book, i defiantly would recommend it to anyone that likes Charles Bukowski's style of work.....i already ordered his other 2 books , women & post office . Read morePublished 12 months ago by kashblaze
Great book about the Chinaski childhood. I think post office is my favourite out of the lot.Published 15 months ago by Alexander Morawetz
If you started with his poetry like I did it gives you an idea of where he's coming from, and what his life experience was like up until a certain point. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2009 by Anthony England
Obviously a man of independent thought, Henry Chinaski the main character and Mr. Bukowski's alter ego suffers the travails of an abusive father and anemic mother who enables his... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2009 by Len
The book "Ham On Rye" is about a young teenage boy named Henry. Henry is experiencing the normal occurences that a teenage boy his age does. Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by TyRease James
Ham on Rye is based around the troubles that go along with growing up, in the normal blunt, coarse Bukowski way. Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by mary magnum
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with Bukowski's autobiography. It lacked the humor and immediacy of his other writings. Read morePublished on April 16 2004 by James Ferguson
At one point in this book, the main character has started a reading mission by going to the library, picking out books (mainly the "classics") and reading them frantically. Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by Takis Tz.