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Post Office [Paperback]

Charles Bukowski
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 5 2002

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.

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"An amazing, hilarious and unfalteringly entertaining account of a man trapped in a kind of Catch 23" Sunday Times "Takes you by the shoulders and shakes you until your teeth rattle" The Times "Cunningly, relentlessly jokey and sad" Observer "One of the funniest books ever written" Uncut "Amazing, hilarious and unfalteringly entertaining" Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"Post Office" is Bukowski's first book. He wrote it in three weeks. When his publisher asked how he'd written so fast, and what his motivations were, Bukowski answered simply: "Fear."
Judging from the text -- and the accounts of people featured in the book saying it's 100% truthful and authentic -- there must have been a lot of fear in Bukowski's life at the time. Constantly poor, with ever-evolving woman problems, Bukowski resorted to the bottle and tried to solve his problems with alcoholism. Of course we all know alcoholism creates more problems than it solves, but in Bukowski's eyes, it was the only refuge from a madcap insane world.
Buk's writing goes straight for the throat. His short, simple sentences are deceivingly perceptive and illuminative. You'll be shocked at points to feel your heart soften as Buk's poetic lines ease into your soul like a tired drunk flopping on a couch. He is that good.
Inspired by John Fante -- another good writer -- Bukowski decided to skip all the unnecessary garbage in other writer's writing and keep everything simple. In that way, "Post Office" is very Hemingway, but simpler, and anybody can pick this book up, read it in a day, and enjoy it immensely. It's almost like it's written for children.
Except, of course, for the adult themes. There's a rape scene in this book that is probably the only funny rape scene ever depicted in American literature. And rape isn't funny. Somehow, Bukowski disarms the reader with his simplicity and cynical sense of humor, and allows anything he says to be cute and interesting. It's almost impossible to be offended by Bukowski, and if you are, well, this just isn't the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master piece Sept. 28 2012
By manmeet
I found Charles Bukowski (..I mean his books) in my university library in summer of 2008. I read the whole book the same night and for next few weeks I had a hangover. I read it again ad again. This is a master piece. The book stands in the same league as Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" or Robert De Niro's movie "Taxi Driver" (Which is loosely based on Dostoevsky's book). The book is not about US Postal Service, as some of the reviews felt. The book is about life, actually the low life, attitude to life, the capitalist life style in contemporary America and the fighting spirit "Bring It On!" of Bukowski. After I found Bukowski through this book I read all of Bukowski's books and I been a big fan of him since then. If you like reading feel good books or books like "how to win friends and impress people" etc then this book is not for you. The main character in the book doesn't care what anyone says about him. Life screws him and he is screwing the life back. As simple as that !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious yet sad July 9 2009
Post Office by Charles Bukowski is a very short novel that should only be read by older readers because of the numerous references to women and sex. There isn't really a climax to the story because it revolves around work, but it has humour throughout, thus it will not bore the reader. I did not like that the women in the novel are seen as worthless things that are only there for Henry to sleep with and are not good for anything else.

Post Office is written through the eyes of Henry Chinaski, a middle aged man, whose life revolves around drinking and women. Henry's life at the U.S. Postal Service began as a mistake during Christmas season when the post office would hire anyone.

As a substitute mail carrier, Henry tells about his life at the post office and his carelessness of his work. There are his superiors with impossible demands, and Henry talking back to them and disappearing from work for days at a time. Every morning when he comes into work, he has a hangover. Henry hates work and his workplace is unorganized and irrational, yet he must earn to survive.

After getting bored of the post office numerous times, Henry quits, yet always makes it back there after going through different jobs and different women. Although Henry describes his life humorously, he seems like a terribly lonely man, which will seem more noticeable in the later parts of the novel. The story then continues in Charles Bukowski's other novel called Women.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all ... a great read. Nov. 16 2007
Great? I guess that subjective, right? But there's something about the rawness of the storytelling here that really appealed to me. Bukowski is a vulgarian in many ways, but that's his charm. It's like sitting down with the town drunk. In Bukowski's case, he's a survivor. And what he managed to save is his own human spirit.

Yeah, life is full of humiliations. And the workaday world of tedious labor can erode our humanity. I really liked this book. No it will never be an Oprah book. It's like a crudely made outsider work of art. Yet it's genuine.

Definitely worth checking out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What a book! I've been a fan of Bukowski's poetry for a while bust just recently delved into his prose. Much like the man's verse, Post Office is gritty, brutal, cynical, jaded, and, most importantly, HONEST. Henry Chinaski (Bukowski's alter-ego) is a pretty unlikeable fellow on the whole. He is a drunk, he is a compulsive gambler, he is a womanizer and beater, though there is still a charm inherent within his ramblings. He shows positive emotion toward a few characters (Fey especially), and seems to take difficult occurances in stride.

A great book!
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Published on June 24 2009 by Len
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
While it is very much the norm in modern literature to focus on the self as the central theme of the writer's work, the novelist choses this motif at his own peril. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2007 by Reviewing for dummies
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Johnny Cash Prison album
I can't pretend I've lived a life much like Bukowski's. I can't say I want to. But reading about it is a riot.

Why isn't this book taught in schools? Read more
Published on April 26 2007 by Matthew Wilkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars One of our great american writers
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Published on March 19 2007 by Gary
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Raw
Bukowski is an acquired taste. His bluntness and rawness is not for everyone. He's NOT a mainstream author; and nowhere is this more evident than in POST OFFICE, which is an... Read more
Published on June 10 2005 by Jonathan Day
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Real Life" Novel!
There are very few novels like "POST OFFICE": a book that conveys the dreariness of a lousy job, a novel of dreams deferred, a novel that portrays the many compromises a... Read more
Published on June 9 2005 by Lee Geston
5.0 out of 5 stars Priority Mail
We read and discussed two books for our book club last session: Post Office by Charles Bukowski, and Little New York B-stard by M. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Jody Diblasio
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Raw and Vulgar
Next to The Losers' Club by Richard Perez, Post Office by Charles Bukowski is the most simple, enjoyable and funny book I've read this year. Read more
Published on July 4 2004
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