Factotum (1 Viewer)

I've finally read all of Bukowski's novels and have spent time reflecting on which one I've enjoyed the most. "Ham on Rye," was it and then "Hollywood" seemed so close, but I keep thinking about "Factotum." It lacks the kinetic juice of some of his other novels, but I'm thinking "Factotum" is the rock Bukowski built his house on. Living job to job, city to city, room to room and the 1st published story!! is upon reflection, my favorite of his works. Now on to his shorts.....
 
B

BicycleTragedy

given, you didn't talk about his panties:
you will find a lot of the content from Factotum in his earlier shorts too.

I am intrigued by this statement, roni. I've read a lot of the poetry and I'm almost through all the novels, but I really loved Factotum too, maybe the best, and I've never read any of the short story collections, only a story here or there. Which is a good anthology to start with?

And do you mean that some of the Factotum episodes are expounded upon in other stories, or that there are left out bits that appear as short stories instead? Or...please expound.
 
Factotum is sort of a combination of a lot of his older short stories. To me, there are points where the novel doesn't seem very cohesive. There are some new parts, but several of the chapters appeared earlier in one form or another.

I think some of them may have been in the "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" column, but I'm sure there are some others here that could give you more specifics.

If you want to read some short stories, maybe try South of No North. I think Run With the Hunted is a pretty good anthology if you're not already familiar with a most of the work.
 
I've enjoyed Factotum a number of times because its opening chapters are perfect examples of his simplicity of genius - describing something in the simplest and most direct way possible until the rest of the novel fleshes out from there, especially the rape scene in which 'he's' the victim - incredibly well written and intense... Elsewhere, what I'd say might seem like a lack of 'juice' is where Bukowski is simply capturing the boring, mindless, endless tedium of going from one soul-sucking job to another... and in reliving that part of his life he may have re-experienced the same tedium... If he hadn't recaptured that deadness the novel would have read completely false to me... Beneath it all was of course his burning desire to become a writer and not have to be anything that he was expected to be... Along with Ham on Rye, I consider this his other great novel of personal and artistic survival, brief as it is.
 
bicycle:
yes, what marina said.

The parts mostly appeared in 'Notes' and in book-form in 'Erections', which was later split into 2 volumes: 'Tales of Ordinary Madness' and 'The most beautiful woman in town'.

The 'Erections' were Bukowski's first book of short-stories and contain a lot of interesting material as well as a lot of stuff, only written to sell to the girlie-magazines.

I find 'South of No North' a bit better, but maybe, (for chonological and historical reasons and to see the developement), it's more interesting to start with the two volumes that formerly were the 'Erections'.
 
The stripper is plying her craft, full electric and baring it all and Henry can't get his dick hard. What's the point? And so it goes with this book. What's the point of it all? Why not just stay in LA and seek employment? Why not just play it safe. I should have read this book straight away after reading "Ham on Rye." Young Henry was toying with the idea of being a writer but he was basically fucked - he NEEDED experience. It's Bukowski's wayfaring memoir of an artist in the making. Learning his craft one cheap, dirty step at a time.

bicycle:
yes, what marina said.

The parts mostly appeared in 'Notes' and in book-form in 'Erections', which was later split into 2 volumes: 'Tales of Ordinary Madness' and 'The most beautiful woman in town'.

The 'Erections' were Bukowski's first book of short-stories and contain a lot of interesting material as well as a lot of stuff, only written to sell to the girlie-magazines.

I find 'South of No North' a bit better, but maybe, (for chonological and historical reasons and to see the developement), it's more interesting to start with the two volumes that formerly were the 'Erections'.

roni - bit overdue but thanks for this info. Really interested in this time in Bukowski's life and will be reading up on your recommendations.
 

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