"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.
Bukowski is very popular with college students who're just trying to stretch their drinking/writing legs. Unfortunately for everybody except Buk, who died in 1994, nobody can copy his writing style no matter how hard they try. I went to Emerson College in Boston, and many people -- including myself -- tried to infuse their writing with the simplicity and poetic nature Bukowski has, but for some reason, it's virtually impossible. He makes it look easy. It's not.
Check it out. Drink a beer. Have a good time. Bukowski won't let the average or above-average reader down. It's those sub par readers he'll anger and disappoint.