“Post Office” by Charles Bukowski

I actually looked into Charles Bukowski because of a reference made to him in a Letterkenny episode. I’d heard of him before but hadn’t read any of his work only to find he’s written multiple novels and hundreds of stories.

Bukowski definitely has a one-of-a-kind style. From harsh profanity to ALL CAPS to unique characters, Bukowski can either draw you in or repel you. As for Post Office, the book doesn’t have much of a plot other than it follows the life of deadbeat Henry Chinaski, a postal carrier. He’s a heavy drinker, a womanizer, and rough around the edges but he’s an interesting man, that’s for sure. Bukowski’s novel features short, sometimes half-page, chapters and while some scenes offer very little detail or only the gist, the story still moves by on a quick pace and you get the necessary events and their relevance. Bukowski really cuts out the fluff and lets you read about a character who can be really hard to like but also really hard not to read about.

Following Chinaski through multiple barely-above-broke jobs and toxic relationships, we can see his true colors that are quite exciting to see in action. He could fly off the handle or surprise you and calmly resolve a situation. Chinaski as the narrator seems to have a much keener sense of calm whereas the character in the scene tends to go a little overboard. Interesting to see at the very least.

What I liked most about this book was Bukowski’s style. It’s not one that I’d dwell on and adore, but it’s unique and intriguing. He utilizes “fuck” and various other forms of profanity as they’re used in everyday language as they are outside of the page. He loves to emphasize things with ALL CAPS and give you just enough detail to set the scene but to still leave you wanting more. He makes big events seem like they almost aren’t worth mentioning, like a sexual assault just being an “it happened” type of thing and breaking a dish in the kitchen to be the start of WWIII. Bukowski tells you what he wants you to know.

He’s got an abrasive, unique, and sometimes harsh style but he has a way of making even the most tedious actions seem interesting within the story. He doesn’t pull any punches and he will definitely offend some readers but he’s got his own way of doing things and that’s what I liked about this book.

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