peteg's blog - noise - books - 2014 06 21 Bukowski TalesOfOrdinaryMadness

Charles Bukowski: Tales of Ordinary Madness

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Catching up on my youth: Bukowski was big with the crowd circa 1997. The biopic Born into this seared the image of his damaged dial that features on the cover into my brain. I also saw the movie of the same name starring Ben Gazzara, but not Factotum. Apparently that was around 2003, and still I haven't bothered with the source material until now. Well, what can I say. Some of it is good, almost all of it is banal, and it is difficult to take his occasional stabs at offensiveness too seriously these days. I don't remember anything much from the first half of the book. Of the second I carefully noted his portrayal of a madhouse Purple as an Iris, his vignettes Notes of a Potential Suicide and the still-life One for Walter Lowenfels. Dates on the stories would have helped. His daughter recurs. He slags off Ferlinghetti which is somewhat ironic as I read the City Lights edition from the Chicago Public Library. I think I'll take him in small doses. Surely he was Hal Hartley's inspiration for Simon Grim in Henry Fool.