joi , 24 septembrie 2020

Bukowski’s “Post Office”: two of my favorite paragraphs

Charles BukowskiPhoto: The Independent

„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. (HarperCollins)

Here are two of my favorite paragraphs of Bukowski’s “Post Office”, that will introduce you to the unique atmosphere of the novel and will make you want to put in on your reading list.

“The moment I decided to quit, I felt much better. Through the rain I saw a building at the bottom of the hill that looked like it might have a telephone in it. I was halfway up the hill. When I got down I saw it was a small café. There was a heater going. Well, shit, I thought, I might as well get dry. I took off my raincoat and my cap, threw the mailpouch on the floor and ordered a cup of coffee.

It was very black coffee. Remade from old coffeegrounds. The worst coffee I had ever tasted, but it was hot. I drank three cups and sat there an hour, until I was completely dry. Then I looked out: it had stopped raining! I went out and walked up the hill and began delivering mail again. I took my time and finished the route. On the 12th swing I was walking in twilight. By the time I returned to the station it was night.”


“I could stay here, I thought, make money at the track while she nurses me over the bad moments, rubs oils on my body, cooks for me, talks to me, goes to bed with me. Of course, there would always be arguments. That is the nature of Woman. They like the mutual exchange of dirty laundry, a bit of screaming, a bit of dramatics. Then an exchange of vows. I wasn’t very good on the exchange of vows.”

Charles Bukowski, “Post Office”, 1971


The current edition was published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, in 2007. You can find it on Amazon in paperback at the price of $10.54. 

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