"Factotum" murder chapter (1 Viewer)



I have a question about the italicized chapter of Factotum, where he describes going to the track with Jan and encountering a stubborn old man whom he eventually attacks over an argument regarding seating...(the scene was SOMEWHAT interpreted theatrically in the film version)...

Is he implying that he may have really killed this guy? If memory serves (I rented the book from the library a couple of months back and cannot reference it now) he describes eventually dropping the man quite a ways down beneath the grandstand, and watching his body bounce several times and go limp.

But then in the next chapter he implies to the reader, via recounting a conversation with Jan about the previous day's fateful trip to the races, that the scene was imagined, conceived in his head out of a drunken haze. Yet he finds the previous day's race results in the paper that day, and they match his recollection of the event.

So, did I read this wrong, or am I just really gullible, or did he kill the guy, or what?

In the film version, he breaks up with Jan out of general disgust and nausea, but in the book, the decision to leave is directly related to his behavior at the track, regarding the assault.

I'm a new-ish Buk fan but I am trying to read everything I can find by him; yet I do not know his style well enough to know if the above-described scene was meant to be taken as surrealism or what. So please forgive my idiocy and offer me some insight.
I read that chapter as either a dream or a latent desire.

Bear in mind that Chinaski is Buk's fictional alter ego, so Buk can have Chinaski think and do anything that suits his whim.
I've always been curious about this as well. But I take the fiction he wrote as embellishment and not factual in cases such as these. But it is a mix, as we know. Did the train really go where it went?
Watch out we could be answering a cold case detective from the jurisdiction of the race track.

You can tell I've been watching way too much TV while being unemployed.
Like Socratease, I've also always read it as either an alcohol-enduced dream and/or desire.

& (ignoring a larger argument as to if it was Buk's decision to present it thusly) in terms of the jarring typographic shift of an entire chapter in italics (& the return to non-italics after the chapter), I'd say that--by design--it was meant to feel surreal...or, at the very least, somehow different from the standard, linear narrative.

It's a really chilling piece of writing, I think.

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