Better than Buk

I've only been reading Bukowski for 3+ ish years now (pale in comparison to how long most of you have read him, I'm sure). I've not been able to find any authors that I enjoy nearly as much as Bukowski. Believe me, I've tried. I've read Miller, Fante, Houellebecq, Easton Ellis, Carver, Anais Nin, etc. Fante comes relatively close, but, still far away.
Maybe Bukowski is just it. Maybe I'll never find another poet/novelist/author such as him.
It's frustrating, in a way, because I just want to read more similar to Buk. I still have a few poetry books left to get through and then the memoirs/interviews/etc, if I feel inclined.
Has anyone had a similar experience / feelings? Has anyone found another author that they enjoy reading as much as Buk because for me, it's no contest.
 
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I hear you. I was also completely knocked over when I first discovered Bukowski and spent many a year roaming the seas in search of a similar fish, but without any success. Then, when I had almost given up, I remembered a quote from one of his poems, “them and us”:

“and he,” my father pointed to me,
“wants to be like them!”

“is that true?” my mother asked.

“not like them,” I said, “but of
them.”

That really did it for me. Why search for anyone like Buk when I have Buk? Why not instead search of someone who can stand there together with him in all the blazing glory and craziness? That's how I came to discover Haruki Murakami's and Roberto Bolaño's prose as well as Federico García Lorca's, Paul Celan's and Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry.
 
Great point. I guess I should have clarified / written more. It's not so much that I want to replace Buk or find an author who is a rip off. I just hope to one day find another author that I enjoy somewhat as much. I mean...I read TONS of other authors that I really enjoy, but, it just isn't the same.
Cormac McCarthy is definitely in my top 3 favorite authors. I've read every one of his books, some multiple times, but, comparing McCarthy to Bukowski is like apples to oranges. Completely different styles / genres / subject matter, etc.
 
I've felt that way before. There are many other writers I enjoy, but Bukowski is by-far my favorite. No one makes me laugh like Bukowski. I see a lot of people online trying to write like him, ripping off his style, subject matter, etc. There can never be another Bukowski. He was one of a kind, and that's alright with me.
 
How about Schulz?

I mean, that little beagle with his existential crisis. Celine would have dug that.

Or How about Jim Davis? Has anyone ever summed up everyday existence in such plain and simple language? We can all relate to that fat cat. The working man spits his milk and cornflakes over that cat.

Me? Oh I like Roth and Ballard for their dark imaginations creating the distopian around the everyday. But neither gave us a furry little creature to relate to.

Don't even start me on Jim Henson...
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
And don't forget Robert Crumb! :p

Buk-Crumb-4-6.Small.jpg
 

Johannes

Founding member

Philip Roth?

I've never been a fan, but funny enough, when I read "My Life As a Man" the depiction of the insane woman reminded me a lot of Bukowski ... snarling, pissing herself while falling to the floor, completely insane ... only thing, in Bukowskis book she would have been drunk also ;)
 
Other than Buk, Roth is the writer I most often re-read. I think he has at least six books that would qualify as great. He is also someone who despite his critical success remained out of the "literary mainstream" for most of his career. He like Hank is a very singular writer who was equally haunted by his childhood, but for different reasons. I dig him.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
I stink.
It's another line of Buk. Something like: I can hardly read my own stuff/shit.
I cand find it in Women, must be in another book or interiew. Anyone?
 
I've read Roth and generally do not enjoy him. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books. I've read The Professor of Desire, Goodbye Columbus, When She Was Good and Portnoy's Complaint. All forgettable to me.
 
It's just the simplicity and realness that has me so attached to Bukowski. I've always loved that LA Times Book Review quote that reads "Woodsworth, Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and the beats in their respective generations moved poetry toward a more natural language. Bukowski moved it a little further. "
I couldn't agree more. I've read a fair share of classic authors such as Dickens and Twain and Faulkner and I can't stomach it. I can appreciate it, but, I can't imagine how anyone could enjoy reading it. It's so long winded. It's using 35 words per sentence to convey something that could be done in 10 words.
 
Raymond Chandler also wrote about a grimy, dirty L.A. through misathropic boozy eyes. His detective Phillip Marlowe just as cynical. Chandler was also a famous pass out drunk who wrote most of his stuff without even remembering.
 
I've experienced this quite a few times - to the point where I'll just say fuck it and not bother reading any new authors for months.

I've only found one author that really has the same flavor to him, and that'd be Mark SaFranko. SaFranko does mostly confessional stuff, and it's all rather Buk-like. The style differs enough to keep his writing fresh though, and I've enjoyed reading every one of his novels nearly as much as Buk's. Hell, the feeling of discovery was even rather similar. I tore through as much of his shit as I could once I found out about him. My favorite living author.

There are a few others that come close to satisfying the taste, but none really the same. Simenon shares some qualities, though is definitely different in style. His writing is very minimal, but poignant, which is something I love about Buk. It isn't quite as real feeling, and can sometimes come off as sterile, but it does work very well for the most part. Don't touch his Detective Margarat shit, that's all drivel - look into his roman durs. Seymour Shubin also writes very concisely, and can sometimes achieve a similar vibe. Again, different, but probably enjoyable to most fans. Honestly, outside of SaFranko, I've found that the closest you can get to touching Buk comes from crime authors. The best of it will be more confessional than crime, so find a crime writer you like, and branch from there into some of their more personal works.

Bukowski is really one of a kind though. For me, it's made any venture into new literature a pain in the ass.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
@Bystander: I've read Hating Olivia by SaFranko and really liked it. Simenon? I don't mind his detective books too much, only read a few, but the other ones he referred to as his "psychological novels" are excellent. Your description is right on. As to crime authors I've not read much but what I have read I've enjoyed a lot- the Swedish Martin Beck Police Mysteries by the married couple Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo is great. The ten books are what they called "the history of crime". Have you read any Tony O'Neill? Down and Out on Murder Mile is pretty good. What do you think of Dan Fante? I dig his stuff.

"Bukowski is really one of a kind though. For me, it's made any venture into new literature a pain in the ass." And that's why we're here, right?
 
Bukowski is really one of a kind though. For me, it's made any venture into new literature a pain in the ass.
I like that, Bystander. It really has. I've more or less given up trying to find my next Bukowski. I'm just happy to have found him. There's plenty of other authors of other genres that I can enjoy. I just enjoy it on different levels from which I enjoy Bukowski. And also, who knows how I'll even feel about Bukowski in 15 years. I know there are a ton of posters here who we're reading Buk when he was alive. Some as long as 30+ years ago, I assume. I've only been reading him for maybe 3, 4 years now. I don't like some of the bands I listened to 5 years ago. Maybe Buk will be the same. Doubt it.
 
Totally different style but I put Paul Auster up there with Buk especially the earlier novels like Music of Chance, Leviathan, Moon Palace The New York Trilogy and especially, The Invention of Solitude.
 
The only SaFranko book I've read is Hating Olivia as his stuff is quite hard to come by. Found by way of the aforementioned Dan Fante. I would second those two recommendations.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
@Bruno Dante Yeah, I stumbled upon Safranko at a thrift store. I guess if i tried hard enough I could find some other stuff on amazon.

@Kusandra I love Auster too but yes, totally different style. Auster writes spare prose and so does Buk but not the same spare prose. Auster infuses his love of French writers and existentialism if i'm not mistaken.
 
Bukowski ruined poetry for me. Everything else has become yeah it's good, but so what.
I don't think I'll poetry again until someone writes something that isn't at like Bukowski.
And when I say enjoy I mean the same anticipation you had when ran home form the record store with an album under your arm.
Bukowski was like that-I would find something I had not read and either read it right there where I found it or deliberately not read a word until I got home.
Fuck give me the Ball-That's Bukowski at his best!!
 
There's a few of his novels on the UK Amazon site anyway. I've just recently (inspired by this thread as I'd forgotten about SaFranko) ordered a copy of Lounge Lizard (same protagonist as Hating Olivia).
Good move. He's also got one called God Bless America about his childhood that I'd recommend. I imagine that's on UK Amazon too, since Murder Slim (the press that publishes him) is based in Norfolk. The structure of his novels is very similar to Bukowski's, all being very autobiographical and about specific eras in his life. I know Loners is on the US Amazon, so it's gotta be on the UK Amazon too (the vodka compels me not to actually check on any of this, though I'm sure it's easy enough to do so). It's a collection of his short stories, which is really quite brilliant. If you're bogged down in novels to read, that's worth a look. I've got a million novels in fucking queue, and, back to the subject of this thread, I always wonder if they'll be worth the time. Loners is worth the time - not a novel though.
I like that, Bystander. It really has. I've more or less given up trying to find my next Bukowski. I'm just happy to have found him. There's plenty of other authors of other genres that I can enjoy. I just enjoy it on different levels from which I enjoy Bukowski. And also, who knows how I'll even feel about Bukowski in 15 years. I know there are a ton of posters here who we're reading Buk when he was alive. Some as long as 30+ years ago, I assume. I've only been reading him for maybe 3, 4 years now. I don't like some of the bands I listened to 5 years ago. Maybe Buk will be the same. Doubt it.
I feel that. It's hard to gauge whether or not interests will last. Enjoy it while you can at least. I've been reading Bukowski for about 5 years, and the value hasn't diminished, only the amount of new material I can come by. That's part of what the manuscripts section of this site is for. If you haven't already gathered, don't bother with any of the posthumous John Martin collections, as they've been raped to shit - not worth the time.
@Bystander: I've read Hating Olivia by SaFranko and really liked it. Simenon? I don't mind his detective books too much, only read a few, but the other ones he referred to as his "psychological novels" are excellent. Your description is right on. As to crime authors I've not read much but what I have read I've enjoyed a lot- the Swedish Martin Beck Police Mysteries by the married couple Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo is great. The ten books are what they called "the history of crime". Have you read any Tony O'Neill? Down and Out on Murder Mile is pretty good. What do you think of Dan Fante? I dig his stuff.

"Bukowski is really one of a kind though. For me, it's made any venture into new literature a pain in the ass." And that's why we're here, right?
Dan Fante never had the same luster for me as some other people, which is unfortunate, because he's got a decently large library at this point. It'd be nice to have a new interest with lots of materiel. Always sort of feels like he's trying too hard to achieve a vibe. That said, I tend to enjoy the interviews with him that I read. Seems like a solid guy, just never synced up with my tastes. Tony O'Neill seems to have the same flavor - maybe a little too, what, edgy I guess (?), not sure. Might be worth a second venture. I've got Down and Out on Murder Mile sitting on my shelf. Anything else worth the while?
 
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