Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life

Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life

Howard Sounes

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0802136974

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A former postman and long-term alcoholic who did not become a full-time writer until middle age, Charles Bukowski was the author of autobiographical novels that captured the low life--including Post Office, Factotum, and Women--and made him a literary celebrity, with a major Hollywood film (Barfly) based on his life. Drawing on new interviews with virtually all of Bukowski's friends, family, and many lovers; unprecedented access to his private letters and unpublished writing; and commentary from Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, R. Crumb, and Harry Dean Stanton, Howard Sounes has uncovered the extraordinary true story of the Dirty Old Man of American literature. Illustrated with drawings by Bukowski and over sixty photographs, Charles Bukowski is a must for Bukowski devotees and new readers alike. As the Los Angeles Times noted, "Bukowski is one of those writers people remember more for the legend than for the work....but, as Howard Sounes shows in this exhaustively researched biography, it wasn't the whole story."














only chance,’ says her cousin, Sunny Thomas. In Post Office, Bukowski writes about Chinaski visiting Joyce’s home town and the impression given is that they settled in Texas for a while. Although Bukowski and his bride did visit after getting married, it was only for a couple of weeks when her grandparents, who didn’t approve of the marriage, were on vacation. Bukowski arrived in his regular city clothes and had to be fitted out in a set of Daddy Tobe’s cowboy duds, which made him look

office into disrepute and a spy was sent to De Longpre Avenue to snoop round for information about FrancEyE, and about Bukowski’s political interests. Francis Crotty told the spy to stop hassling ordinary people, and sent him away saying Bukowski ‘wasn’t no Commie’. Bukowski was called in to see the assistant director of personnel and another manager. Spread in front of them were copies of Open City, which was all the evidence they had against him. They were concerned about a story about sodomy*

crowd. They expected an exhibition of crudity from the dirty old man: sex poems, drinking poems and scatology. ‘Cliché! Cliché!’ a heckler called out. The normally mild-mannered John Martin was so offended he pulled the back of the heckler’s chair sending him sprawling onto the floor. They squared up for a fight as Bukowski ploughed on: the best of you I like more than you think. the others don’t count except that they have fingers and heads and some of them eyes and most of them

beautiful body!’ she says, indignantly. But she forgave him, realizing he had to ginger things up to get a story. ‘What was he going to say, that we had a sane relationship, that we sat like two civilized people having refined conversation?’ Ruth Wantling thought Bukowski’s portrayal of her as Cecelia, including the physical description of her as being ‘a cow of a woman, cow’s breasts, cow’s eyes’, was so wide of the mark it was risible. And although Bukowski had written about the evening in the

finished Hollywood late one Saturday night in the early fall of 1988, despite his poor health. It is perhaps surprising what an upbeat and funny book it is, describing a domesticated and financially secure Henry Chinaski laughing at a world crazier than anything he had experienced in the factories, bars and apartment courts of Post Office, Factotum and Women. The following morning he awoke with a blazing fever of 103 degrees which continued for a week. He could not eat or sleep and shivered

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