My first Bukowski, which is not going to be the last.
The novel is ridiculously funny and incredibly sad at the same time. Henry Chinaski by a turn of fate ends up wasting twelve years of his life in a post office among overachieving supervisors and strange company policies. I think anyone, who has ever had a dead-end job can relate to many situations that Chinaski is exposed to. What is tragic about his character is his total lack of will to escape such life. Instead he invests his efforts into booze, horses and easy women. I don't normally go all feminist on books written more than twenty years ago, because I take these annoyances as a product of time, but Bukowski's portrayal of his character's relationships knocked the rating down a star for me. Chinaski just floats around from girl to girl, moving into their places, laying around, drinking and eating their food, and taking very little responsibility for the impact he has on their lives. But to his credit, he never gets vindictive towards women who leave him, remembers that he has a daughter and whats to be a part of her life, and lets his lovers choose for themselves what they want from life.
Maybe I'll revisit the book in twelve years and see how useful my own time on earth will be.